Saturday, August 17, 2013

"Read More" copy/paste hijacking, and NotScript nanny managing

I hate being nanny managed, especially on my own computer. Microsoft does it, Google does it, all the big corporations do it in order to find ways to extract money from us as users.

Since 2010, copy/past hijacking has been one of these ways. For example, take a recent article on obesity and mortality from the well respected "American Journal of Public Health." As a medical sociologist, I believe this article is misguided, but that is neither here nor there in relation to the topic for this page. I was trying to copy/paste the title to see if anybody on the Web has been discussing this article, and when I pasted it into the Google search space, the URL also was inserted, messing up my search. There is a javascript coding that hijacks the reader's attempt to copy/paste that not only inserts this text, but it also tracks what you are doing. I hate being both tracked and nanny managed--I can copy my own citation when I need it. I've done the same thing with several Facebook posts, when I want to copy paste certain sentences into the news article I'm sharing, and each time the URL appears, so I have to go back in and delete all of that crap.

I couldn't find any recent solutions--when the process started back in 2010, a company called Tynt started doing it, and all of the ways to disable this "Read more at this URL" copy/paste hijacking were only in relation to browser extensions specific to Tynt. However, other companies are now doing it on their own, like the above medical journal. I tried many ways to get Ad Block Plus to filter it out, with no effect. I finally added a javascript blocker, which does the trick. Once you load in the extension, a small pyramid appears in the URL box, it blocks all javascript on the page, and if you want to enable specific javascript domains, you have to click on the pyramid, and it will list the domains you can activate, permanently or temporarily. I have Chrome, so I used Notscripts (Mozilla/Firefox has NoScript).

Unfortunately, NotScripts has problems of its own. Chrome, being an evil Google product, tries to make it difficult to do many things. For example, if you Google something and click on a link, you may notice that you don't actually get directly connected to that link, but first you get connected to a "Google redirect" to track you, that eventually sends you to the link of your choice. It's primarily noticeable when your connection is slow, or Google is slow, so you get stuck at the weird Google redirect link for several seconds. Anyway, NotScripts requires you to tinker with the Chrome Extension File to add a password to "protect your whitelist." I don't give a crap about, and it's obnoxious that you can't opt-out of it, or that the programmer wasn't clever enough to be able to do it automatically. It's an older extension, so he gives you some instructions for Windows 7 and prior, but I have Windows 8, so I was out of luck--I had to find the files on my own. Here's the address, for those of you who want to enter a password for Windows 8, then follow the instructions from NotScripts:

C:\Users\(username)\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\odjhifogjcknibkahlpidmdajjpkkcfn\0.9.6_0

It may not be exactly that, but somewhere thereabouts. Of course "(username)" is whatever username you are logging in with. You can't bypass any of this. Until you find this hidden file and enter a password, every time you open Chrome an unwanted tab will open demanding that you enter a password, and until you do, the program doesn't work, nor can you get rid of the nag screen.

On the other hand, as stated above, I hate being nanny managed. You can't just enter in any old password, it is some ridiculous, medieval torture device password that you'll never remember, and you'll have to re-enter every time you update the stupid program. As an alternative, just disable it. You'll still have to find the appropriate extension folder listed above. However, instead of entering the password, trick NotScript into believing that you have. I tried simply deleting several random files, but it just disables NotScript. Eventually what worked was going to the following folder and modifying the file "common.js" by opening it in notepad--don't forget to save it.

C:\Users\jtownsle\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\odjhifogjcknibkahlpidmdajjpkkcfn\0.9.6_0\common

Go down to the line "const PASSWORD_STATUS = {" and you will see 6 lines of ways you somehow messed up the password you were supposed to enter, numbering from 0 to 6. Notice that #5, is labeled as "okay"--change all of the other signifier numbers to "5" (no quotes). Conversely, you could change all of the labels to the word "okay" (in quotes). That tricks the program into believing that your password is fine. You may have to redo this every time the program updates, I have only had it for an hour, so I don't know its update procedures.

Additional anti-nanny-tip: pay-wall avoidance

Whatever site you are trying to use, go into your cookies and delete every reference to that domain. For example, I'm using Chrome--they don't make it easy--I go to "Customize" (the three parallel lines in the top right of the browser), then "Settings" then "Show Advanced Settings..." (at the bottom in tiny text) then "Privacy" then "Content Settings" then "Cookies" then "Manage Exceptions"---PSHEW!! They likely change this every update to foil instructions on how to change your cookie exceptions. Do a search for all relevant domains. So if there is a paywall blocking "" then search for "slugline" (no quotes), and simply delete every reference. If the newspaper you are trying to access gives customers a couple of free articles a day or permanently, then shuts you out, this removes the block. You will have to keep doing this every time you reach your limit, then restart your browser.

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