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Using Firefox to protect privacy?

Seeing this article about teens revealing too much online got me thinking about a potential Firefox extension.

Part one would need to be installed in the system level extensions folder (Firefox/Extensions), and would examine all text input via textboxes. By matching against a list of information it wouldn’t let the user post any information deemed sensitive (could be name, location, school, etc.). It could get a little smarter by even allowing rules per domain.

Another extension to complement it would be installed in the user’s extensions folder (like normal) and allow configuration (password protected of course).

A few years ago now, I started the Securita project to bring content filtering to Mozilla, but never really got past a proof of concept (it essentially has a blacklist of about a dozen words).

Both are rather tough to implement as it’s rather hard to truly block something (a porn site could use no images, instead resorting to pure text, or could be written in german when the filter only understands english). There’s also workarounds that would need to be defeated, so that “S@lly” == “Sally”, “Bob” == “Robert” and so on.

It’s a pretty tough job to really make something like this effective, though it would be beneficial for schools, and parents looking for a good free aid. I say “aid” because there’s no true substitute for supervision despite what many want to believe, filters and software don’t have enough AI to have the logic of an infant, forget about a quick thinking teenager. Don’t forget for less than $100, you can output a mirror video cards with TV out.

It would be an interesting project, though I do believe there would be somewhat of a difficult extension to make truly effective.
Just food for thought.

4 replies on “Using Firefox to protect privacy?”

certainly Interresting idea, although I believe we should look more at the root cause.

you write “I say “aid? because there’s no true substitute for supervision “.

I. my opinion it should have read “…. no true substitute for education”. It is the parents responsibility to educate the young ones to act safely on the net. supervission and filter are just poor replacements

henrick: yea, education is important, but ultimately the responsibility is with the parent to ensure education/enforcement. The point of the sentence is purely that.

herman: yea, that too!

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