How to Block Third-Party Trackers in Your Browser

Cookies are data artifacts saved by web browsers on our internet-connected devices. They keep a record of the websites you visit, and in the case of first-party cookies, they’re important for certain essential website features.

Third-party cookies, on the other hand, raise privacy, security, and ethical concerns. Privacy is critical for most people today due to the increase in data breaches, leading many users to look for extra layers of security when browsing.

How do I stop browser tracking?

Third-party cookies represent another easy opportunity for internet users to block some efforts to track and capitalize on their internet traffic and web searches. Here’s how you can block this third-party tracking to stay safe.

Block cookies with a VPN

One way to block browser tracking is using a virtual private network (VPN) to decouple your IP address from your online activity. Mullvad and ProtonVPN are typically spoken of favorably among the privacy-literate, but you’re encouraged to do your own research.

VPNs don’t technically block cookies, but they provide a way around them. Since these programs reroute your internet traffic through servers in other locations, they’ll mislead some tracking cookies. Some VPNs also come with a feature you can turn on to block cookies. Look for a switch saying something along the lines of “block third-party tracking” to enable this.

Block cookies in incognito mode

A frequently asked question is: Should I block third-party cookies in incognito? If incognito keeps your website activity hidden, then what’s the meaning of blocking third-party cookies in incognito?

Unless you’re using a niche browser, entering incognito mode almost certainly disables third-party cookies. Using a browser with any appreciable market share should be fine where third-party cookies are concerned. While your browser will store cookies in incognito mode while you have the window open, it’ll delete them as soon as you close it, stopping third parties from tracking you.

Some modern web browsers also provide a “Do Not Track” option that you can toggle, which has the same effect as disabling third-party cookies, even when you’re not in incognito. Here’s how to block tracking cookies in Chrome and other major web browsers and operating systems.

How to block tracking cookies in Google Chrome

Here’s how to block tracking cookies in Chrome and other major web browsers and operating systems.

If you have Chrome, here are some ways to block tracking cookies in your browser:

Step 1: First, tap or click the menu icon in the upper-right corner of your open Chrome Window.

Step 2: In the menu that drops down, select Settings.

Step 3: Within Settings, find the Privacy and Security section.

Step 4: Select Cookies and other site data.

Step 5: The resulting menu gives you granular control over third-party cookies in windows, incognito windows, and more — including blocking them entirely.

Why are cookies a problem for privacy?

This is a problem for the privacy-minded. There are ethical and possibly legal ramifications for what that website or online service is doing. However, users can receive a detailed summary of any browser fingerprinting or user profiling going on behind the scenes. If so, they must select “yes” in an accompanying opt-in form. States and territories like California and the U.K. are trying to open the “black box” of web-user data-gathering practices using privacy-focused legislation.

There are reasons why this technology exists and reasons a user may wish to opt-in. One way or another, people see advertisement at various points in their day. Some internet users might not mind the prospect of more relevant ads.

Whether or not the methods used to target those ads are ethical is a question best left to individuals. If you want to know more about cookie privacy, check out Digital Trends’ piece here: Are cookies crumbling our privacy? We asked an expert to find out.

How to disable third-party cookies in Safari

Here’s how to disable cookies in Safari’s browser:

Step 1: Click Safari > Preferences in the menu bar for your open Safari window.

Step 2: Navigate to the Privacy panel in the menu that opens.

Step 3: Beside Cookies and Website Data, click the button for Block All Cookies.

Step 4: If you’re using iOS or iPadOS, open the Settings app and navigate to the Safari settings. Under Privacy & Security, toggle the Block All Cookies switch to on.

How to disable third-party cookies in Firefox

If you have Firefox, here’s how to disable third-party cookies in your browser:

Step 1: Select the main menu from the upper-right corner.

Step 2: Select Options > Privacy & Security in the drop-down menu.

Step 3: You’ll see a Browser Privacy section. To block cookies, move the toggle from Standard protection to Custom protection.

Step 4: Custom protection provides options to block all third-party cookies, third-party cookies from sites you didn’t visit, and other options.

mozilla firefox chrome review comparison 2020 mozillafirefoxcomentillustration


How to disable third-party cookies on Android and iOS

Disable third-party cookies on Android if you’re using Chrome. You can do so easily using the above steps. If you’re using an alternative browser, that product may have its own settings for manipulating or disabling cookies. Chrome on Android has the benefit of offering third-party cookie-blocking functionality even for websites you’ve otherwise whitelisted.
If you’re looking for a similar system-level cookie-disabling setting for iOS, you’ll only find it for Safari (as described in the steps above). Alternate browsers will have individual settings.

Why you might want to block third-party cookies

You may want to know a little more about cookies. You may ask: What is a browser tracker, and is a cookie the same thing? For our purposes, the answer is “yes.”
Whereas first-party cookies help provide a smooth user experience and ensure all elements display as intended, third-party cookies track user and device metrics for a range of possibly questionable purposes.

What do third-party cookies do?

The most common reason for implementing third-party cookie functionality is for ad revenue. Using cookies, ad services can target certain demographics and user groups based on their cookie “bread crumbs.”
From web searches to site-specific browsing history, it’s all up for grabs. It’s even possible for advertisers to track users across websites if those websites are members of the same ad services network.

Why are third-party cookies a problem for privacy?

This is a problem for the privacy-minded. There are ethical and possibly legal ramifications for what that website or online service is doing. However, users can receive a detailed summary of any browser fingerprinting or user profiling going on behind the scenes. If so, they must select “yes” in an accompanying opt-in form. States and territories like California and the U.K. are trying to open the “black box” of web-user data-gathering practices using privacy-focused legislation.

There are reasons why this technology exists and reasons a user may wish to opt in. One way or another, people see advertisements at various points in their day. Some internet users might not mind the prospect of more relevant ads.

Whether or not the methods used to target those ads are ethical is a question best left to individuals.

What are some examples of third-party cookies?

Some of the most prolific third-party cookies originate from just two companies: Google and Facebook. The most common third-party trackers from these two technology multinationals include:
* Google Analytics —
Used by marketers and webmasters to analyze web traffic and user behaviors in order to tailor content and marketing efforts.
* Google Doubleclick and AdSense —
Marketers and webmasters use these ad services to target relevant ads to users based on their behavior on the website and potentially across other websites.
* Facebook —
Even something as innocuous as a Like button, embedded content, or a Log In With Facebook option may be enough for companies to form a user profile using Facebook cookies.

Third-Party Cookies Aren’t for Everyone
All of this is probably enough to leave you wondering: With all of the problems associated with web tracking, which browser does not track me and my internet searches?
Avast Browser, Brave, and Safari often receive shout-outs for obfuscating certain browser fingerprinting clues by default. Firefox and Microsoft Edge receive their own accolades for implementing more security-focused DNS protocols.
For most people, third-party cookies are mostly benign, even if they’re somewhat intrusive and a little creepy. If you want to take internet security more seriously than most, however, and remove one more tool bad actors can use to track your online activity, consider blocking third-party cookies using this guide.

Editors’ Choice

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Block is contacting 8.2 million customers after a former employee downloaded company reports

Block, the parent company of products like Cash App and Tidal, said in an SEC filing that a former employee downloaded “certain reports” that “contained some US customer information” without permission from Cash App Investing (via Protocol).

Data in the reports, which Block said were downloaded on December 10th, included “full name and brokerage account number” and for “some customers” included “brokerage portfolio value, brokerage portfolio holdings and/or stock trading activity for one trading day.” The employee, who downloaded the data after they left the company, had access to the reports “as part of their past job responsibilities,” according to Block.

“The reports did not include usernames or passwords, Social Security numbers, date of birth, payment card information, addresses, bank account information, or any other personally identifiable information,” Block said. “They also did not include any security code, access code, or password used to access Cash App accounts. Other Cash App products and features (other than stock activity) and customers outside of the United States were not impacted.” Block says it is contacting “approximately 8.2 million current and former customers” in regards to the incident.

“At Cash App we value customer trust and are committed to the security of customers’ information,” Cash App spokesperson Danika Owsley said in a statement to The Verge. “Upon discovery, we took steps to remediate this issue and launched an investigation with the help of a leading forensics firm. We know how these reports were accessed, and we have notified law enforcement. We are also contacting customers whose data was impacted. In addition, we continue to review and strengthen administrative and technical safeguards to protect information.”

Update April 5th, 7:34PM ET: Added Cash App statement.

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How to block and report text spam

Spam texts can be incredibly irritating — you get a notification and stop what you’re doing to check your phone, only to find somebody is trying to sell you something you don’t want. How can you prevent it?

Unfortunately, there are no absolutes in preventing text spam. But there are some ways you can at least minimize the number of spam texts that get through. Here are some strategies to try.

Do not answer

Top of the list is — as you probably already know — never reply to a spam text, and never ever click on a link within a spam text. If you’re not sure whether a text is spam or legitimate, hold off on replying until you’ve done a bit of research.

Use the spam filter on your phone

Android phones and iPhones have spam-filtering features that you can enable.

If you have an Android phone:

  • Open the Messages app
  • Click on the three dots in the upper-right corner
  • Select “Settings” > “Spam protection”
  • Make sure “Enable spam protection” is toggled on

If you want to see what numbers you’ve marked as spam, you can go to “Settings” > “Spam & blocked.”

To set up spam blocking, go to “Settings” > “Spam protection.”

Go to “Settings” > “Spam protection.”

Toggle on “Enable spam protection.”

Toggle on “Enable spam protection.”

If you have an iPhone:

Apple’s spam blocking is a little more basic than Android’s: it blocks phone numbers that you don’t have saved in your contacts list and haven’t been in contact with before, which could be an issue (say, if you’re expecting a call from a car service).

  • Open the Settings app
  • Scroll down to and select “Messages” > “Unknown & Spam”
  • Toggle on “Filter Unknown Senders”

Scroll down to “Unknown & Spam.”

Scroll down to “Unknown & Spam.”

Toggle on “Filter Unknown Senders.”

Toggle on “Filter Unknown Senders.”

Block specific texts

When you get a spam text, you can block that individual number from contacting you again.

If you have an Android phone:

When you tap on a message that Android tags as suspicious, the OS will often give you the opportunity to report it as spam (or verify that it’s not spam). But if you get a spam text that wasn’t flagged:

  • Tap the three dots in the upper-right corner
  • Select “Details” > “Block & report spam”
  • You can just block that number if you want, or you can check “Report spam” to send the number to Google and possibly your carrier as well

Note that this process can differ depending on which Android phone you’re using.

Android often gives you the chance to report spam.

Android often gives you the chance to report spam.

You can just block a spam text, or you can report it to Google.

You can just block a spam text, or you can report it.

If you have an iPhone:

  • Open the spam text and select the user icon on top of the page
  • Tap on the “info” icon and then on the “info” button
  • Select “Block this Caller”

Select “info” and then click “info” again on the next page.

Select “info” and then click “info” again on the next page.

At the bottom of the page, select “Block this Caller.”

At the bottom of the page, select “Block this Caller.”

If you want to report an iMessage that you received as spam, then look for the “Report Junk” link under the message, tap it, tap “Delete,” and then “Report Junk.” Note that this doesn’t automatically block that phone number; you’ll have to do that separately.

Forward the text to 7726

If you’re using one of the major carriers (Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile), you can report a spam text by forwarding it to 7726. (Note that this spells “SPAM” on your phone keyboard.) This may also work with other carriers as well; to find out if it’s possible, check with your carrier.

Block spam using your carrier’s services

Most major carriers these days offer spam-blocking services for phone calls, and these can carry over to texts. Carrier sites will offer details about free and for-pay security services offered by AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon; if you use a different carrier, check its website.

Use a third-party spam-blocking service

If you’re really frustrated and the above strategies aren’t working for you, you can try using a third-party anti-spam service. These are not free. For example, RoboKiller costs $4.99 a month or $39.99 a year after a seven-day trial, while Nomorobo costs $1.99 per month per device after a 14-day trial. If you do decide you need a third-party service, you can use the trial to see if it works for you before committing yourself.

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Symmetry Systems nabs $15M to block data breaches

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Symmetry Systems, a platform that detects, responds, and protects against data breaches, today announced that it raised $15 million in series A financing led by Prefix Capital and ForgePoint Capital. The company says that the investment will support its growth initiatives, particularly in the areas of customer acquisition and recruitment.

Data breaches can be crippling for businesses. According to IBM, the global average cost of data compromise is $3.9 million, and typical breaches at publicly traded companies are estimated to cost $116 million. The vast majority of these breaches are preventable — consultancy Willis Towers Watson finds that over 90% of cybersecurity breaches are due to human error. But more than 77% of organizations don’t have an incident response plan, and most targets take six months to detect even large breaches.

Symmetry Systems’ DataGuard platform aims to provide visibility into objects across different data stores. It finds potentially sensitive customer data and highlights risky service roles, third-party vendors, developers, and analysts with access to the data, creating firewalls to shield data from being stolen.

Symmetry Systems runs in a sealed sandbox inside a hybrid cloud or on-premises datacenter. In addition to creating firewalls, it learns existing ones and provides evidence when they break, generating least-privileged identity and access management policies based on data-flow behaviors. The idea is to ensure security for data flows across accounts like Amazon Web Services, contractors, supply-chain services, and internet-accessible services while automating the parts of compliance reporting related to cloud permissions and access to protected data.

Protecting data

Symmetry Systems, which is headquartered in San Francisco, California, emerged from the Spark Lab at the University of Texas at Austin in 2018. Symmetry was cofounded by Mohit Tiwari, an associate professor at UT Austin focusing on security, privacy, and computer architecture research.

“My ex-student and cofounder … had been researching how to protect users’ data from applications and cloud services for several years. In May 2015, we committed to taking our research to practice and formed Symmetry,” Tiwari told VentureBeat via email. “We started a pilot with a complex-case hospital for children in Austin [and then] pivoted to work with the other end of the security spectrum to build data security into a Kubernetes platform … Over the last 6 quarters, we have refined our product with feedback from more than 100 organizations and our close advisors who run security or built security products at organizations like Netflix, Jask, Splunk, Auth0, among others.”

Symmetry Systems’ customers include Seven Bridges, which is using DataGuard to secure genomic and clinical data in the cloud. Partner ecosystem platform Crossbeam is another paying brand, as is visual collaboration startup Bluescape, which says it’s using DataGuard to provides insight into data-related risks such as exploited web services and insider threats.

“It makes sense to root organizations’ security in their data and identity as the two end-points — taking ‘zero trust’ principles to its logical conclusion — while taking applications, APIs, and more out of the trusted codebase,” Tiwari said. “Data security for the cloud brings really hard problems into a tough cocktail — data labeling is a fundamentally weak classifier, attackers generate adversarial inputs, the benign infrastructure is dynamic, and the scale of billions of data objects puts false positives well beyond the ability of regular humans and security-orchestration rules to handle. The only way out is to balance detection-response via machine learning and cloud-permissions tools to build workflows that are productive for cloud-security and data-governance engineers.”

With the most recent funding round, Symmetry Systems, which expects to have close to 30 employees by 2021, has raised $18 million in venture capital to date.


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‘Blankos Block Party’ is an NFT Trojan Horse for the video game industry

Mythical Games is proud of Blankos Block Party, sure. Co-founders John Linden and Rudy Koch are happy it’s found a substantial audience, and they’re pleased to partner with brands like Burberry and Deadmau5. They were super happy to receive an additional $75 million from investors this month, bringing their funding total to $120 million. But really, Blankos Block Party is more of a side hustle for Mythical Games. What Linden and Koch are actually selling is an ecosystem of NFT-driven gameplay and development.

Problem is, to the majority of Mythical’s audience, that sounds boring as hell. It’s much easier to sell Blankos, a colorful online world filled with user-created toys and cartoon vibes, than it is to push blockchain economics on a playerbase of kids and mainstream brands.

Blankos is obviously the proving ground,” Linden told Engadget. “We control all the levers in Blankos, which is great, so we can do a lot of testing and really see what’s hitting with the community. But the idea behind that is to tune it so that other games can use the same concepts.”

Blankos Block Party

Mythical Games

Blankos wasn’t originally meant to be a full game. It started off as a tech demo, a way for Mythical developers to demonstrate their NFT marketplace to potential corporate partners. Blankos operates on the premises of accessibility, ownership and scarcity — it’s a free title where players can build game worlds with no coding skills required, and also collect, customize or sell NFTs of characters and objects created by developers and major brands. The Blankos themselves are squashy, Funko-esque toys, driving home the idea that they’re collector’s items, even though they’re completely digital.

That NFT marketplace is the heart of Blankos, and it’s what Mythical is actually interested in building.

“What NFTs allow us to do is to bring the player into the economy so they can participate in the value that they bring to the game,” Koch said. “Through the items that they earn, through the levels that they build, through the customizations that they make — they own the NFTs. They own the items, for the first time. And they can play with them, they can sell them.”

The idea of selling in-game items for real money isn’t new, but the ownership that comes with blockchain technology is. There are existing marketplaces where players buy and sell game keys, digital weapons and rare cosmetic gear, though these operate on legally dicey ground. Players often don’t own the things they’re bartering — the game developer does. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has a notoriously hot gray market, with players reportedly spending north of $100,000 for specific weapon skins.

“We’ve seen gray markets pop up around most popular games, almost every popular game,” Koch said. “Players clearly see the value, and they want to buy and sell things from each other… [but] it’s always been on the fringe, it’s always been illegitimate.”

Linden agreed and added, “When these gray markets pop up, they’re not safe. You don’t know if you’re going to get the assets, there’s a lot of fraud in these things, there’s a lot of laundering, there’s a lot of different things, and negative things have happened in these gray markets. And I think that’s what we want to try and legitimize. We want to make that part of the game, part of the ecosystem, so you can design with that.”

Blankos Block Party

Mythical Games

When Mythical was showing Blankos to big brands roughly three years ago, the NFT industry was an odd, little-known space. This was ages before the Great NFT Boom (and Bust) of 2021, back when most folks were just beginning to hear about blockchain technology, mainly from the perspective of Bitcoin. Today, NFT marketplaces are so trendy they’ve become tacky.

Overall, that’s good news for Mythical. Linden and Koch don’t have to spend time explaining blockchain-powered ownership or try to avoid saying “NFT” entirely anymore.

“There’s a new generation of collectors, right?” Linden said. “And the fact that they’re willing to pay this money for tokenized JPEGs, which — we’ll see what the value is, long-term, but I think what [the NFT craze] did show is it showed the mentality. It showed where consumer interest is heading, that they view digital assets as assets.”

To that end, Blankos Block Party doesn’t need to succeed. Mythical doesn’t even need to win over the Twitch chat, which was aggressively unimpressed by the Blankos presentation this week, during E3 2021. What really matters is major brands and players buy into Mythical’s in-game NFT ecosystem.

“The game doesn’t have to be a grand slam,” Linden said. “We’re not trying to necessarily take on Roblox, but what we’re seeing is the community loves it. The community really loves what we’re doing, the brands love where it’s doing, so we’re going to definitely invest heavily behind it, to really show this and show all these new concepts that we want to do. How does gameplay affect ownership? How can you play to earn? What does that mean in a game?”

Blankos Block Party

Mythical Games

Blankos entered Early Access this week, bringing along “several hundred thousand” players from a six-month beta. Brands and artists including Burberry, Deadmau5, Michael Lau and Quiccs have plans to release in-game items this year, and Mythical coordinated a Blanko NFT Twitch Drop for viewers of its E3 2021 show on Monday. More than 100,000 NFTs have been purchased in Blankos so far.

Long-term, Mythical is concerned with making sure its NFT economy is sustainable. Mythical isn’t the only studio attempting to make NFTs a thing in gaming, but they’ve been working on this issue for years and they’ve hired people with expertise in live events, ticketing and financial systems. Eventually, if all goes to plan, the studio will transition into a distribution role similar to Valve or Epic Games, licensing out its blockchain technology and overseeing other studios’ game economies.

“Our primary focus is going to be bringing this technology to a lot of other game developers, and we’re already in talks with quite a few to bring this into their worlds as well,” Linden said. “We’ll probably have a few announcements later this year, for sure.”

Blankos is certainly no Fortnite or Roblox, but it doesn’t need to be. It just needs to sneak Mythical’s NFT concept into the gaming industry.

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Facebook loses bid to block a potentially major change to EU data sharing

Ireland’s High Court has dismissed Facebook’s bid to block a European Union privacy regulation — created by the Irish Data Protection Commission (IDPC) — that could interrupt the flow of data from the EU to the US, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Facebook first appealed the order in part because it claimed the Commission and the EU’s other privacy regulators were moving too quickly and hadn’t given the company appropriate time to respond. Facebook also told The Verge the IDPC’s privacy order “would have damaging consequences for the European economy.” Irish officials clearly didn’t share the same concerns.

The IDPC originally created the new privacy order because Facebook and other international companies often store EU residents’ data on US servers, potentially exposing them to additional surveillance. If EU regulators decide to side with the IDPC, it would mark the first major action against Privacy Shield, the protocol that allows that data sharing to happen.

The commission still needs to submit a final draft of its order to EU privacy regulators, but if it’s approved, it could have a widespread impact on all companies doing trans-Atlantic business online. As the Journal noted, the order could force Facebook to silo the information it collects from users in the EU or stop serving those countries altogether.

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Tech News

Apple removed Shadow game streaming app to block Microsoft xCloud

Apple has very strict app store policies that it credits as the reason that it is able to offer high-quality and safe experiences on iOS. Those policies, however, have also been criticized by developers are self-serving, inconsistent, and monopolistic, traits that Epic Games is using against the iPhone maker in its high-profile lawsuit. The game developer, however, isn’t the only big company that had problems with Apple’s App Store rules but, in an almost odd turn of events, Microsoft inadvertently got a competing game streaming app banned when it was making its case for Project xCloud on iOS.

Of Apple’s many App Store policies, the most notorious is perhaps the restriction on offering any kind of store within an app. That’s the reason why Amazon’s Kindle and Comixology apps don’t allow buying anything from within the app in contrast to the experience on Android. That policy, however, has become the bane of the new breed of game streaming services like Google Stadia and Microsoft Xbox Game Pass’ service, formerly known as Project xCloud.

Both companies as well as some third-party developers have tried to work around those limitations but Microsoft tried to also convince Apple to let xCloud into the App Store. In email exchanges last year between the two companies that were revealed as part of the Epic Games vs. Apple lawsuit, Microsoft argued that apps like Netflix and Shadow did exist in the App Store. The latter was also a cloud gaming service that suddenly found itself pulled from the App Store probably because Microsoft used it as an example.

Fortunately for Shadow’s users, that ban was only temporary. The developers successfully argued that they didn’t really offer an alternative content store because what they ultimately provided was remote access to a gaming PC. This would be the same line of reasoning Valve would use in order to get Steam Link approved once and for all.

To date, Stadia and Xbox Game Pass streaming remain absent on iOS and this trial will hardly change that. Not unless Epic Games is able to win its case and force Apple to open up its mobile platform to competing content stores and payment systems.

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Tech News

Vivaldi browser on Android lets you automatically block cookie requests

The European Union’s GDPR was a double-edged sword that protected privacy not just for the region but for the rest of the world but at the expense of some inconveniences. Website administrators had a hell of a time implementing compliance and users now get welcomed by messages asking their permission to enable cookies. These can get pretty annoying or even downright confusing which is why Vivaldi is bringing its Cookie Crumbler feature to Android to pretty much block most of those cookies and their dialogs altogether.

It is, of course, a good thing to ask users whether they want to have cookies track their visit but, unlike Apple’s new App Tracking Transparency, the permissions for these aren’t exactly trivial. Unless you’re a more seasoned computer user, you are more likely to just allow all those cookies, which pretty much negates the purpose of letting users protect themselves online.

Vivaldi’s solution to the confusion and interruption is to just hide those dialogs and block cookies at the same time. This feature is part of its Cookie Crumbler that it introduced on its desktop browser and is now arriving on Android. It is part of the browser’s tracking protection features, which is why it is found under those related settings, in case you want to disable it.

You might actually be forced to disable it on sites that require cookies to even work. Vivaldi also warns that there will be some sites that seem to work around cookie blockers so it might not work 100%. That said, its blocking system is based on third-party lists that continue to grow as more and more sites with cookies are added to it.

The update to Vivaldi on Android also includes cookie-unrelated new features. Vivaldi can now use a language different from what Android is set to for those that have to juggle multiple languages. The update also brings back the Start Page icon that was removed when Vivaldi switched to a bottom location for its address bar and tabs.

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Tech News

These $40 AI-powered earbuds block noises you don’t need, while alerting you to the ones you do

TLDR: The xFyro ANC Pro AI-Powered Wireless Earbuds use artificial intelligence to amp up its noise cancelling powers to make the music better while keeping listeners safer.

Everybody loves the convenience of earbuds. The tiny little powerhouses don’t have all the heft of lugging around over-ear headphones while still dishing up premium sound. But they still suffer from the same concern held by over-ear users — how do you enjoy the full scope of your music uninterrupted while still remaining safe to all the dangers of the world when you can’t hear what’s happening around you?

One answer appears to be artificial intelligence, which is at the heart of some cool innovations included as part of the xFyro ANC Pro AI-Powered Wireless Earbuds. Right now, they’re available at over 80 percent off their regular price, just $39.99 from TNW Deals.

At their most basic level, the ANC Pros are a solid set of studio quality earbud tech. Crafted around 7mm graphene drivers made from one of the thinnest and strongest materials on earth, the pair kick up premium quality sound that won’t degrade through vibration like materials that make up lesser drivers.

Packed with Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity that auto-pairs automatically to devices at up to 30 feet away with no lag or loss, these buds also fit like a champ, ergonomically sized and designed to feel like you aren’t wearing earbuds at all.

But where the ANC Pros have a true step on most other earbud models is with their innovative active noise cancellation system, which uses artificial intelligence to more effectively block the sounds you hear and don’t hear when the earbuds are in.

Using their own AI algorithm, the ANC Pros use the earbud mics for making and receiving calls to intelligently filter all the sound that’s happening around you. The Pros have been programmed to recognize more than 6,000 sounds, so ambient sound like general room noise, indirect chatter, or machinery signatures are intercepted and eliminated from your sound mix. 

But when something more substantial is detected, sounds like sirens, alarms, or someone speaking directly to you, the Pros let that sound pass through your buds, guaranteeing you’ll hear the sounds you need while casually ignoring the ones you don’t.

Protected from the elements with an IPX5 water resistance rating, the Pros are also ready to keep going as long as you do, with up to 8 hours of battery life per charge. It also comes with a charging case to extend that life up to 100 total hours before you need to plug in again.

Retailing for $250, the xFyro ANC Pro AI-Powered Wireless Earbuds are now on sale at almost 85 percent off their regular price, down to only $39.99.

Prices are subject to change.

Repost: Original Source and Author Link

Tech News

Google and Apple block update to England’s contact-tracing app over privacy violation

An update to England and Wales’ contact-tracing app has been blocked by Apple and Google for violating their location data collection rules.

When gyms, pub gardens, and non-essential shops reopened today, the COVID-19 app was supposed to have a new feature that would log every place that a user checked into. If they later tested positive, the app would inform other people who’d been to that venue.

But this collection of location data is prohibited by Apple and Google, who developed the decentralized API model on which the app is based.  The update has therefore been blocked from Google Play and the App Store.

A spokeswoman for the UK’s Department of Health told the BBC that the new feature had merely been “delayed” and that the app’s core functionality has not been impacted. But privacy advocates have slammed the location-tracking plan.

Ray Walsh, a digital privacy expert at ProPrivacy, said it appeared the government was trying to trick the public into believing their data would be handled appropriately:

The Department of Health claimed that the UK’s app would continue to handle data in a private and decentralized manner even if users shared their check-ins to protect fellow users. However, it seems that in reality, the feature would require a centralized repository of data to be amassed by the authorities. It is now clear that the government either misunderstood how it can leverage the technology provided by Google and Apple, or was hoping to sneak this update in the back door and get people to opt-in to a centralized approach without providing transparency about exactly what they were doing.

The government had initially intended to develop a homegrown contact-tracing app, but switched to Google and Apple’s more privacy-focused model last June.

Walsh said it was vital that the app continued to use a decentralized approach that doesn’t constantly track people’s whereabouts

The government agreed not to harvest any location data from consumers in order to gain access to Google and Apple’s privacy-centric contact-tracing tech and it’s hugely concerning that the government attempted to sidestep those privacy protections without making it clear to the public that this would cause location data to be collected.

Despite the feature being delayed, the government is pushing ahead and lifting its lockdown restrictions. And thank God for that — I can’t wait for that first ice-cold pint.

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