Fingerprinting protection causes many problems


#1

Brave 0.17.19
rev 4e46480
Muon 4.1.9
libchromiumcontent 59.0.3071.115
V8 5.9.211.38
Node.js 7.9.0
Update Channel dev
os.platform darwin
os.release 13.4.0
os.arch x64

I just wanted to finally post this here after the zillionth time this issue has raised its head. I didn’t see any specific discussion of it but maybe I just didn’t find it.

Fingerprinting protection seems to cause problems on a LOT of sites. To the point that now any time a site doesn’t work 100% correctly, fingerprinting is the very first thing I turn off and it clears up the issue in nearly all cases. This despite there being no fingerprinting methods shown as being blocked. My obviously incorrect expectation is that if there are no fingerprinting methods to be blocked, then fingerprinting protection should be harmless. Clearly this is not the case.

This is particularly true of any embedded Youtube videos. Any site that embeds a YT video (including this forum), those videos will not play back until fingerprinting protection is disabled. As soon as it’s disabled however, they play just fine. I have to disable this for so many sites as nearly everyone embeds a YT video at some point.

So, I have no idea if there’s a bug here or this is expected or what, but I thought I should at least share it in the interests of Brave getting better.


#2

Hi @scoiner

Thanks for reaching out! It is known that Fingerprinting Protection can break some sites (if you go to about:preferences#shields this is called out specifically next to the setting for Fingerprinting Protection). However, I was wondering are there additional problems with this (other than embedded youtube videos don’t play)? Also, could you provide some sites that are problematic?

While I didn’t find a specific issue geared toward what you’ve reported, I did find the issue below which is for notifying users when they have fingerprinting enabled and it will break a well-known site. This won’t solve your problem, but hopefully it would help out other users.

https://github.com/brave/browser-laptop/issues/4621

Thanks,
Lauren


#3

Thanks for the info! I haven’t been cataloging the sites that it causes problems with, but it’s a lot of them. I’ll start paying attention and try to post them here as I come across them.

It’s confusing to me as a user though because if there are no fingerprinting methods found, then my assumption would be that fingerprinting protection is doing nothing, therefore is harmless. Clearly that’s not the case, but this isn’t obvious to the user (“May break some sites” is vague at best). For example if I saw no ads or trackers being blocked, I would see no reason to turn off ad blocking.

Thanks again!


#4

So just looking through my currently open tabs, here are some:

tradingview.com
globaladmedia.com (had to deactivate all shields)
gdax.com
tokyodawn.net (embedded youtube videos)
discourse.soylent.com
xero.com (had to deactivate all shields)
changelly.com

Will add more as I run into them.


#5

Hi @LaurenWags I’ve read the issue reported but considering what @scoiner is stating and what I’m about to mention I don’t see how it would make it more efficient.

I read the issue on Git and the girl with the sellotape on her face sort of does state that this is inefficient and if it were to be just a notification it wouldn’t really help users essentially access the content they intended to view.

Furthermore, are you guys certain that this isn’t a bug because it seems vaguely similar to an issue I reported here related to videos not playing properly - Videos not playing properly on other platforms

aliexpress.com and many more sites don’t load properly and a number of technology article sites that are non responsive and only in Brave does it not display pictures, in that it doesn’t display it at all or is incredibly slow to them despite the page is fully loaded.

Finally, could you possibly speak to the team about this and how to efficiently resolve this matter because I think this and similar issues in aspect are causing an issue for many users but I’m sure they’re not reporting it and prefer to just skip whatever they were trying to load.
So I think it would be best if a better solution were too be developed for reporting issues like this and why certain site aren’t functioning properly rather than many users reporting in the community of exactly the same issue about different sites. Unless of course if just asking users to list the problematic sites is good enough, then so be it. Honestly though, this seems very taxing.

Thanks


#6

see https://github.com/brave/browser-laptop/issues/1888


#7

https://github.com/brave/browser-laptop/issues/2965


#8

I too have a problem with Fingerprinting. I like the security and do NOT want to lose it, but I am wondering if it can be improved by giving requesting sites generic info about things like fonts… if they requested a list of all fonts and got al list of those most commonly encountered that would diminish their ability to fingerprint… the more abstract the font that was not reported, the better the fingerprint protection. I wold think that Brave could build a database of the most commonly requested fonts and those that are never requested based on what sites use and what users have and come up with a generic group that functioned, but rendered knowing using the font set less effective for fingerprinting purposes. This same technique might be employed with regard to other requests for user and browser and system info.

I mention this because, if fingerprint counter-measures can be more invisible to the websites, then fingerprinting will be less of a problem.I want to emphatically state that I prefer Brave over FF and others foremost because of its privacy and security.


#9

tracked here https://github.com/brave/browser-laptop/issues/2259


#10

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