Technology, Philosophy, & Sometimes Both

Thoughts on the World by Jack Umano

Web Browser attitudes Toward User Controls

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The browser makers seem to have very different attitudes toward user controls.  Here’s an example:

The Mozilla company has no interest in monetizing your user information.  So, the Firefox browser gives you a reasonably easy way to find the controls for cookies.  Just go to Tools > Options > Privacy.

But Google definitely wants to track you and profit from knowing everything about you.  Chrome puts  their cookie settings behind an unexplained “wrench” icon > Then go past “basics” and “personal stuff” (both of which would be reasonable places to find cookies’ settings) and click on the mysterious and intimidating “under the hood”.  The implication in that name is “don’t mess around with this unless you really know what you’re doing.”

Ok, now you’ve found the settings for cookies.  Let’s look at what the browser let’s you do:

The attitude I get from the Firefox browser is, “You want control of your cookies?  Great. Here’s a list of what they are.  Do what you want to each one.”   Firefox gives you a button to show the entire list of cookies.  You can see who is setting them and delete the ones you don’t like.

The Chrome attitude is, “If you have to have control of cookies, then FINE!  Here’s a button to delete all cookies.  Happy?”  There seems to be no way to view what cookies are set.  Just a “clear browsing data” button that doesn’t let you select which site’s cookies you’re deleting.  This discourages you from deleting cookies since you will lose cookies from sites that you like and want to allow cookies.

I like Chrome for a lot of things.  But, I’m going to keep using two browsers for now.


Written by Jack Umano

November 12, 2011 at 4:44 am

Posted in Technology

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