Why block Plausible but not Google Analytics?

Is there any avenue through which Brave decision makers would reconsider the blocking of plausible.io scripts, at least when served as a subdomain?

Currently, as discussed previously in these forums, Brave automatically blocks Plausible. But among all of the trackers out there, Plausilble is arguably the least creepy of them all. See the numerous measures they take to ensure user privacy.

I think any impartial observer would agree that Google Analytics is a much more privacy-invasive tracking apparatus than Plausible, and Brave allows Google Analytics tracking. It seems possible to me that a Manager at Brave previously decided Plausible was just too small to be worth treating with the same respect as Google. I would appreciate if that choice could be reconsidered since, as a website owner, page view counts are a key element of how I can build pages that engage users. Brave also allows Fathom, a currently-inferior privacy-focused tracking app.

tl; dr if Google Analytics isn’t too privacy-invasive for Brave, then Plausible shouldn’t be either, and Brave should not block the Plausible script when served from a subdomain of the site.

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Brave blocks Google Analytics. If you know about websites where Brave doesn’t block Google Analytics, share those websites so @fanboynz can take a look.

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Thanks for the quick response! I just know Brave doesn’t block GA on some sites that I host, and I’d prefer to keep it that way. :slight_smile:

It also doesn’t block Fathom, which to me makes more sense than not blocking GA. And aside from where GA is allowed/not, my broader point is that I don’t understand why Brave would block privacy-respecting tracking apps. Tracking that doesn’t build a unique user identifier, and that builds their whole service around respecting user privacy, would not seem to pose any type of threat to user privacy?

I just answered the part of your thread that stated that “Brave doesn’t block Google Analytics”, for the rest an answer from @fanboynz would be most accurate.

Brave automatically blocks Plausible

… that’s why I’m not using Brave/ do not take Brave seriously (unfortunately)

We block Google analytics and various others by default. Brave uses Easylist and Easyprivacy (like other adblockers). no special exemptions for google at all. @inedibill

Regarding plausible, why not block it? it’s a tracker. Regardless if it’s opensource or not being google, it’s still tracking users. And with others adlockers (uBO, ABP etc) plausible is blocked and treated no differently. @h-enk

Wow, thanks for the quick response @fanboynz! To try to better understand Brave’s “overarching goals” (is it just blanket block any kind of view count tracker, or something else?) I tried to snip applicable goals from the Brave home page:

We all know what’s wrong. As a user, access to your web activity and data is sold to the highest bidder. Internet giants grow rich, while publishers go out of business. And the entire system is rife with ad fraud.

Agreed. This is what Google Analytics may have helped perpetuate. Certainly Google Adsense. But certainly not any third-party tracker like Fathom or Plausible.

Block data-grabbing ads and trackers. The vast bulk of websites and ads include software that tries to identify you. They want to track your every move across the web. Brave blocks all this, allowing you to browse freely.

This seems like it captures the gist of why I personally use Brave: I don’t want to run all that code that tries to correlate me to a unique identifier. But Plausible and Fathom don’t do anything like that, it’s in their charter that they’re emphasizing respect for the user’s privacy.

I might be in a unique position as both a Brave user and a privacy-focused web site proprietor, so I hope that my concerns will be accorded some weight. Website operators need basic stats to get a sense for what users like. If we can’t use user-privacy-friendly trackers, then we have to roll our own, which is a big step back for web development. It seems like the best compromise would be to have Brave read the charter for Fathom and Plausible and agree that these companies do nothing to dilute from the value Brave provides. While still respecting the interests of webmasters to have some sense for what activity is happening on their site.

The moment we allow some trackers, not others. A tracking list becomes less about tracking and more policy which we can’t control. What if Plausible, Fathom, Sentry gets sold to another 3rd-party company? What is covered by Easyprivacy (used in Brave, uBO etc): https://github.com/easylist/easylist/blob/master/README.md#easyprivacy

The moment we allow some trackers, not others. A tracking list becomes less about tracking and more policy which we can’t control.

I understand that has been the historical reasoning, but hopefully you would agree that the lack of nuance in such a policy implies that developers & webmasters need to hand-roll their own tracking tech, which seems like it would have potential to often be more invasive than the privacy-focused trackers of today (e.g., Plausible, Fathom).

Given that it looks like you already have a list of sites that can be exceptions to the general blocking, the infrastructure is in place not to block privacy-first page count apps. If they are later sold or change their policies, then they can always be re-added among the rest of the dubious tracking apps. But as it is, I still can’t ascertain any risk to privacy that is created by allowing webmasters to host these scripts in a subdomain of their site.

For reference,

Fathom user privacy: “Fathom Analytics is a privacy-first analytics company. We make money from our paying customers, so there’s no need or reason to sell, rent or give away any of your data (that’s not our business model).”
Plausible user privacy: " TL;DR: For plausible.io visitors, we do not use cookies and we do not collect any personal data. We promise we never sell your data: never have, never will."

Also, to be clear, currently Fathom is not blocked when served via a subdomain, whereas Plausible is blocked from a subdomain, which is a weird-seeming dig at Plausible. I appreciate that Fathom is correctly identified as not-a-threat.

Is there anything that I could do to reduce your perceived drawbacks of Plausible.io? Some sort of commitment they could sign? A petition from users that they don’t believe privacy-focused analytics trackers are problematic?

Or perhaps I’m discussing this question at the wrong place, and there is a decision maker that could be reached elsewhere who would be open to discuss what the long-term policy on privacy-focused analytics should be?

Reminds me of tracking companies, “Here is our T&C’s” or “Here is our privacy policy”. No one can audit this, tracking companies make the rules.

I (and the community) have had many discussions with Plausible, The divide between privacy first and the companies that want to track is wide.

I (and the community) have had many discussions with Plausible

Do you happen to have any links to these conversations? It would be good to understand what about their policy has led to the wide gulf you cite.

To an impartial third party, it’s difficult to imagine what steps they could take to provide you with adequate assurance that users privacy is not being compromised? But reading such an emphatic sentiment as you’ve provided, it seems like I must be missing some sort of backstory?

Maybe another way of helping me understand would be if you could elucidate what is different about Fathom that makes it not worth blocking?

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