Open Letter to Wired ( by Condé Nast)

Screenshot of Wired’s doorslam that blocks access unless you turn off your tracker blocker.

Here’s The Thing With Shortsightedness

Dear Wired,

You don’t get it: It’s not about ads, it’s about behavioural targeting and tracking.

We are disappointed that violating our privacy and compromising our security are the ways you have chosen to monetise your service. We hope you will stop blocking valuable tools like Better that protect people from trackers, ad-delivered trojans, and other web malware.

While we hope you will reconsider your malicious stance against human rights, we are not willing to sit idly by and let you compromise our privacy and security in the meanwhile. So, in addition to blocking the roughly 50 third-party trackers that your site exposes us to, we are also blocking your blocker blocker with the following rule:

- trigger:
    - url-filter:
    - load-type: first-party
- action:
    - type: block

Now, it’s your turn: if you want to, you can inline all your JavaScript to break our blocker-blocker blocking rule.

Then, we can update our rule to make it disable all of your first-party JavaScript…

We can play this game of cat and mouse all day long. Or, you can ask yourselves whether this is really the game you want to play. How will you explain your escalating disdain for the rights of your readers to your employees; most of whom, we’re sure, are decent folks who just want to do the right thing?

You have ethical alternatives

If you want to make money while respecting our rights, you have ways of doing so that don’t track us or compromise our privacy and security.

You can, for example, use non-behavioural ads that don’t track people (like The Deck does).

Or, you can switch completely to a subscription model and abandon behavioural advertising altogether.

Or, you can engage with a service like Flattr, or join with other publishers to create your own.

Reconsider the ethics of your business model

It’s not our job to come up with ethical alternatives to your current business model. However, if we can come up with three viable ones off the cuff, I’m sure you can do even better if you decide to dedicate yourselves to it.

What we will not tolerate is this attempt to keep your core business based on behavioural advertising and tracking while attempting to extort funds from your readers who are simply trying to protect their privacy and security on the web.

We urge you to reconsider the ethics of your business model.

You have alternatives. We hope you will choose one that respects the rights and safety of your readers.

About Wired

Wired is a full-color monthly American magazine, published in both print and online editions, that reports on how emerging technologies affect culture, the economy and politics. Owned by Condé Nast” – (Source)

Ethical design violations

(Learn more about Ethical Design.)

After Better

Summary of site performance statistics (before & after Better)

Requests: 399 requests 127 requests 3.1×
Weight: 6.18 MB 2.66 MB 2.3×
Speed: 3.47 minutes 1.61 minutes 2.1×

Statistics by Better Inspector based on the page as on Sunday, November 11th 2018

Clean-up rules

Fix the empty space at the tops of pages.

- trigger:
    - url-filter:
    - load-type: first-party
- action:
    - type: css-display-none
    - selector: div[data-js="leaderboard"]

Hide the empty sponsored posts box for blocked Outbrain posts.

- trigger:
    - url-filter:
    - load-type: first-party
- action:
    - type: css-display-none
    - selector: div[data-outbrain-url]

About Better

Better is a Safari content blocker for iPhone, iPad, and Mac. It protects you from trackers and malvertising by enforcing the principles of Ethical Design.

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