[tbb-dev] reconsider shipping uBO or enabling ETP?

juanjo juanjo at avanix.es
Wed Jul 1 18:26:32 UTC 2020

I would vote for enabling Firefox's Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP) 
when they rebase Tor Browser to Firefox 78. This means not loading a new 
extension and should be even faster.

Enabling basic (optional advanced) ETP blocking ads would make browsing 
the clearnet faster for users and even could have Tor network impact as 
in some websites the ads and tracking make them about 30% heavier and 
slower. So if all TB users use this, the win could be for the network too.

El 1/7/20 a las 18:16, gunes acar escribió:
> Hi all,
> I was wondering if Tor Browser team is open to reconsider shipping an
> adblocker or turning on Firefox's Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP)
> mode, and whether you need some research input that may inform that
> decision.
> I am aware of issue #17569 and I agree with most of the arguments laid
> out in the "No filters" part of the design doc. Especially that the
> list-based approaches would not improve TB's existing privacy
> protections with respect to curtailing online tracking.
> However, tracking protection/adlocking also have significant performance
> benefits [1, 2], which is the main reason why I'm bringing this up.
> Just to find out whether there could be potential performance benefits
> of shipping uBO with TB, I did a quick crawl of sites from the Trexa
> list [3] using TB with and without uBlock Origin (uBO) installed. Having
> uBO *reduced the median page load time by 27.6%* (from 7.6s to 5.5s) on
> top 1K sites. You can imagine there would be a similar reduction in the
> network footprint due to blocked requests.
> Another reason why it may be timely to reconsider this issue is that
> today all major browsers except Chrome ship a built-in adblocker or
> tracking protection mode (Safari, Firefox, Edge, Opera, Brave...). So,
> Tor Project may not really stand out for "damag[ing] the acceptance of
> Tor users by sites"[4] by blocking ads.
> I and some colleagues could be interested in dedicating some research
> time into studying the potential privacy and performance impact of
> adding adblockers or enabling ETP mode -- esp. if the JIT issue (#23719)
> makes uBO and other addons infeasible.
> Can you let us know if there's willingness to reconsider shipping an
> adblocker/ETP, and if so what research may help you with your decision?
> Best,
> Gunes
> [1]
> http://www.ieee-security.org/TC/SPW2015/W2SP/papers/W2SP_2015_submission_32.pdf
> [2] https://dl.acm.org/doi/pdf/10.1145/3366423.3380292
> [3] https://github.com/mozilla/trexa
> [4] https://2019.www.torproject.org/projects/torbrowser/design/#philosophy
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