Turning inner space into outer space

December 10, 2023

Sorry, I didn't know I was helping the trackers

I had trackers on my site and didn’t know until Safari told me it was blocking them.

In the privacy section of Safari settings, there are options to prevent cross-site tracking and hide IP address from trackers. When you visit a site, you can click to see how many trackers Safari blocked. Another click shows the domains of the trackers.

On this site, I found there was a tracker coming from Cloudflare. Turns out that Cloudflare hosts CDNs — content delivery networks — for a lot of the little extras developers like to add to their sites. In this case, it was Font Awesome.

I use Font Awesome because it’s an easy way to add icons. There aren’t many of them on newsonaut, but, still, that’s my habit.

I can’t say I blame Cloudflare for throwing in a tracker. If they’re going to host Font Awesome, they might as well get something out of it. And it looks like they have a use for that tracked data.

I got around their tracking by downloading Font Awesome, uploading it to my shared server and linking to it from there. Cloudflare has been deleted and will no longer attempt to track my visitors.

I checked my other sites, and discovered they too had trackers. Cloudflare not only had its tracker hitching a ride with Font Awesome, but also with Foundation — a framework for styling with CSS.

And there were more! An embedded video from YouTube came along with trackers. An embedded map from Flourish had trackers. Now that I know how widespread this practice is, I’m surprised Google Fonts doesn’t do the same thing.

Anyway, they’re all gone now. Uploading and linking to stuff from my server is less convenient, but — darn it! — I feel a lot better knowing that I’m not helping corporations invade your privacy.