Blokada and instagram

Hey everyone. I try to steer clear of social media and don’t use facebook (*.facebook.com is on my block list) because I don’t like the constant data collecting, usage, and selling of my data. I have been using instagram since its launch a decade ago and have sadly watched it slowly self destruct as that mother zucker converts it to a shopping/ads app since metafacecrap bought it out but never stopped using it because, hey, I was here first sort of a deal and already had thousands of photos on it. Don’t know if any of you have read the new -mandatory- terms and conditions that you have to accept by July 26th in order to keep using your account but I am not okay with them. More data mining/selling by metafacecrap AND now constant location surveillance? No thanks. So my question is: is there any way of blocking that stuff using blokada at all or am I just going to have to delete instagram, too? Thanks in advance, what I do in my personal life is not worth some funny dog videos at the end of the day. Especially when there’s only one of them to every three video ads and four additional “suggested posts” from people I don’t want in my feed. Hope there’s a way to blacklist the data collection at least. Thanks.

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Ps, sorry for the edit trail of a million and one edits on the post. I couldn’t feel like it embodied enough of my disgust at all of the changes over the past decade that led to everything digital, down to the very last mobile game, having to be constantly tethered and connected to the internet just to run anymore and how much every service mines your personal data and builds sci-fi thriller like profiles on you down to your every preference, private relationship, and favorite ice cream. I grew up in the 90s when digital life was fun and free and without all these endless surveillance state games that have absolutely ruined my digital life. Don’t even get me started on the new streaming culture which has lost me so much of my media purchased over the years.

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I’ve time. Go ahead :wink:
My popcorn is ready :popcorn:

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I agree with you 100%. I deleted FB and Insta years ago and never looked back.

One thing you can do to reduce tracking is do not use the apps on a phone. Use them on a desktop or laptop, block location services, and block their javascript. Doing this might make the sites unusable.

Personally I recommend you delete the Insta account completely. Blocking with Blokada will be a constant game of whak-a-mole as they change the URLs that they use to collect their data.

At least these guys are putting their stalking intentions out there for you to “accept”. In the past, they just did it.

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There are apps (alternative clients) that one can use to avoid the adverts and obvious tracking.

I use “Frost” for Facebook. It web scrapes the desktop version of Facebook (ie not an app that can scan your phone) and reformats the info to display on mobile.

If you have a look on F-Droid and / or github directly, there are Instagram clients too. Same methodology as “Frost”, uses desktop Instagram, reformat to mobile.

I use “Fairemail” as a mail client, that handles my gmail and Yahoo mail. It strips every incoming mail of tracking images and presents the contents of the email with the option to load images if required.

I use “Ungoogled Chromium” on my desktop which is Chromium browser with Google services extracted. I have uBlock Origin as an extension, to do on-the-fly blocking, should one sneak thru, or to identify frames on a screen that are advertising even if what is being shown doesn’t come from another site.

On my desktop I have Pi-Hole loaded, running 24/7, and I’ve cloned that into my laptop, so both are excluding the same tracking. I see no adverts, ever.

On my mobile I have Blokada 5 running as permanent VPN. I have a Xiaomi phone, one of the most invasive operating systems I’ve ever seen (and I worked in IT Forensics) - so I’ve included a Xiaomi specific blocking list, to which I’ve added custom addresses to block.

Finally, I use hotspot off my phone for internet access on everything. Since O2, my provider, reports differing “home” IP access points right across the country, it’s the ultimate anti-tracker, as Facebook etc have no constant idea of where I am.

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Regarding Instagram:
It’s very, very likely that they’re shipping parts of their tracking and ads using the same https encrypted domain they use to ship content.
It’ll not be possible to get rid of these ads and trackers without also blocking the content or cracking open the https encryption which we won’t do for obvious reasons listed here.

Something anyone can do at any time is try setting their location to an EU member state. GDPR and similar regulations will then most likely be applied to you as well. As a result of that there are less ads and trackers active even on xiaomi devices.

I still want to hear your thoughts on streaming though.
I’m seated and waiting for hours now. :popcorn:

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That’s exactly what I was afraid of, the very reason I’ve never been able to block their ads in my feed. Crap. Thanks for confirming this, I was really hoping there was a workaround or a way to spoof my data packets so they didn’t link my digital life to me. Looks like I’m out of the social media game entirely then. Thanks again.

As for the streaming, you thought my last rant was long, I’d be typing for days, lol. Basically though I grew up in the 90s where my music, my movies, my books, my audio books, even my games were files. Actual files. I bought them and they were mine to keep and use how I like whenever and wherever I wanted. No streaming licences keeping me from content I paid for. I’m bought it and it was MINE. FOREVER. New device? No problem, I just drag over my files and enjoy the freedom of using them in whatever amazing app I wanted.

When I left the country, I purposely bought the maxed size iphone at the time and purposely, with plenty of space to spare, “downloaded” over a decade of my music, thousands of dollars of my itunes movies, books, etc onto it. When I came to my new country, the almighty digital power, apple, thought that I didn’t know what I was doing in managing my own digital life so it ignored my settings and overrode my choices and in its almighty, unlimited power did me the magnanimous favor of “offloading” every last bit of my content to free up space on the phone even though it was never even near half full. The first time I tried to listen to my beloved music I was met with the error, “this song is not available in your country.” Of course not! That’s why I downloaded everything I owned ahead of time! So it would be safe on my device and under my control! Nope. Apple and its unending, unlimited micromanagement was always in control and after checking that I had indeed had the new “offloading” feature still off, my digital life was gone. Went to watch a movie as well and it was not available to stream in my country, regardless that it was downloaded days prior. I left apple and got an Android and life has never been better. Also, all my purchased ibooks were a front for rentals. The streaming culture had forced me away from the .epub files I loved that could live on a USB and not be locked on someone’s server at their whim. I found I could no longer legally procure ebook files of my books, they were locked to services and couldn’t be used unless exactly authorized by a storefront that controlled their use. Instead of downloading a book and launching it in my favorite ebook app with endless features I was locked into proprietary storefronts with less optimal reading environments. My ibooks, thousands of them, were lost to me. Locked behind the apple ecosystem that was inaccessible on my liberating new Android. I did the “right thing” the “moral thing,” and spent hundreds more, repurchasing many titles on Kindle since the streaming culture has now made it so you can’t just buy a file and have it forever. Now new purchases are locked into kindle and, as a world traveler, I find that there will be times I open my kindle library to access the hundreds of books I’ve repurchased and downloaded and it says: “it’s a bit empty in here.” And the app has logged me out and deleted my entire library and all of my books are gone. This is the worst when I’m on a remote island with no wifi to redownload them over the course of a few hours.

I am done with the endless streaming games because they are always a bad joke and I always suffer as the punchline. The only way around it is something I’m not okay with because I’m a “good, honest person” who tries to do the right thing, and that is torrents and stuff. This digital paradise of endless possibilities and freedom such as it was in the 90s and early 2000s has become a digital hell of two step verifications, paywalls, pay to plays, barricades, and barbed wire. Nothing is easy and fun anymore, there are always terms and conditions. Content is modified, changed, revoked. You are never in control anymore and always clawing to just get access to what you honestly paid for. The game is now you and how much you will “agree” to to get to your content, if “they” allow it and all on their terms. I could really go on but this is a brief summary of what I was talking about. Hope the popcorn was good. I miss the freedom and peacefulness my old digital life. I used to escape into the freedom of my digital world, it was peace and freedom. Now it’s a constant battle, pain, just to try to “get access” to and to try to enjoy a few of the things I use to love and it’s the most stressful thing in my life because it’s all changed and the digital way of life I knew is now gone forever. All because sheep hit always hit agree, no matter the cost, and let corporations walk all over them for “convenience” instead of standing up for themselves. They’ve “agreed” to a world where they’ve signed over any and all control and it’s disgusting. I miss the old days when technology was fun and the possibilities endless. Now it’s all a digital cage with no hope.

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My computers have been in the states the past few years. I travel around the world so I travel light. Everything is from my phone and since it’s an Android that hasn’t been an issue before. Thanks for the advice though. I did delete my one Instagram account months ago. I removed all of my followers and made it private. I played their games, filled out their forms, followed their instructions, and they said it would be deleted on May 18th. It’s now July 12th and the account is still active and they seem to have no intention of doing anything regarding it. They are such a joke. I don’t think they delete accounts. They just say they will and hope you don’t check back because they want high user account numbers. I hate what the digital world has become. Thanks again though. I appreciate the advice.

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Wow, you are my hero. Love the way you have circumvented the digital overlords on every level there. It would be hard for me to do all of that on just my phone since I don’t have my computers with me but I love all of that advice. I also keep Blokada as my constant vpn. I refuse to turn it off even to activate my express to spoof my location to watch my us based streaming services. I have a separate phone for that because as soon as I disable the blokada, my android sends a bunch of data collection packets to all sorts of facebook domains even though I don’t use their site and have their multiple apps and processes (which my phone does not allow me to delete!) disabled.

And I know I’m big on the data crap, and it’s not like I have anything to hide, it’s just the principle of it. The fact that we have agree agree and agreed our lazy selves into this world where if I talk about a product with someone, I’m suddenly assaulted by endless targeted attacks and I don’t like that kind of world. I want my privacy and my freedom to not be an advertising profile on someone’s server. It’s so invasive and through everyone’s actions or inactions, myself included, we have collectively created a monster. A scifi horror thriller in the making. I know I sound tin hatty here but we all know the corporate tech games. Anyone, tell me I’m wrong. :pensive:

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Also this terms ultimatum was a slap in the face about my data and I started using brave for my mobile browser. It seems a bit cliche, does it really work or is there another I should be using? I’m also a bit afraid to sideload things. I know that even the playstore hosts malicious apps and that’s scary enough with their guarantees and so called security checks, but if that’s the case I’m even more afraid of an app with no “security checks” or guarantees at all. I know I’m big on circumventing and all but I also know the reality of malware and how easy it is for a malicious package to do some serious damage behind the scenes. I know it works a bit differently, but I see those ring doorbell and nest camera hack videos where people are watching the owners in their homes and interacting with them and I wonder how easily someone could code an app to do that to a front facing camera and mic without you even knowing it. So that being said, I’m very leery of sideloading anything. Thanks again blokada community.

I don’t think you’re nuts. Whilst I’ve become more privacy conscious, I started this thing by mistake - I had a data plan kind of mobile contract that was slow, I didn’t get too much surfing bang for the buck, then I loaded DNS66, the first ad blocker I used in ernest. My internet connection speed shot up, and a little experimentation proved I was getting at least 70% more data - that previously was being eaten/ used up by trackers.

About your always-on vpn and being afraid to switch it off lest trackers send loads home. If you setup a privacy screen on your home wifi connection, then you can switch off blokada at home and still know that nothing is being sent home.

Do you know about Pi-Hole? It’s a full privacy system one can load on a raspberry Pi - or at least that’s how it started. A Raspberry pi is a very cheap computer.

The idea with it is to route all internet traffic from the internet router in, say, your home, through the Pi, then set the Pi as the wifi address.

Cloud <----> Router <—> Filter <—> Wi-Fi

Here you could swap out “filter” for any spare machine you could set up to run the privacy software.

Cloud <----> Router <—> RasberryPi <—> Wi-Fi

or

Cloud <----> Router <—> old Win 7 pc <—> Wi-Fi

Thus, any device connecting to the Wi-Fi will automatically be ad / tracker / p0rn / malicious software free. This is the ultimate solution because now you control the airwaves. You get to say what comes in, what travels around your house/office, and you get to say what gets sent back home, and you get faster internet in the bargain.

But I didn’t have a router back then - I used my mobile hotspot as internet connection, so I needed a machine specific blocking solution.

I use Windows primarily on desktop, currently Windows 10. Most privacy stuff these days, like Blokada, are built to run in Android, which is a type of Unix, the operating system that runs the internet. As with all things, “Unix” became expensive and proprietary, so “linux” was developed to do the same thing, a bit like Android has become.

Windows 10 introduced a feature called WSL (Windows subsystem for Linux) wherein one can load an entire linux operating system to run under Windows. I set mine up by hand and it was a monster, but then I discovered a chap in Singapore called DesktopEcho has created scripts to do it easily. So my Pi-Hole implementation on my desktop is Debian linux running under Win 10.

Long story short, use a (Pi-Hole) filter on your home connection, for every device that connects to it, and keep blokada as your mobile filter, thus giving yourself a secure place to be able to switch off blokada.

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Oh yes, about trying to cancel an online account - don’t bother. Rather just change everything about it, like where you live, what you like, make it so unlike you, little by little. “Like” things you wouldn’t be seen dead in. Put “likes” on every political party, just make it useless data. This way their backups of your data are being eroded, slowly, till the point that what they know about you could be said about anyone.

Do one set of changes, then leave it a couple weeks, do another. Use this week to love yellow, then next week swear blind blue is the colour, yellow is SO insipid. Open links to ads you’d never follow.

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Thank you!!! :trophy:

That’s errrrmmmm… A little too unsophisticated.
That’s basically what the browser addon AdNauseam does. That strategy might’ve worked well some years ago but if you do it now you’re just leaving more individual browser fingerprints across the Web. And you don’t need trackers if you can just use brower fingerprints.
The good news is: Whilst Firefox still provides a fingerprint Brave seems to randomize its fingerprint rather well.
At least regarding to https://coveryourtracks.eff.org/

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