February 17, 2016

FilterLists: Directory for Blocking Ads and Trackers

Disclaimer: I imported this post from WordPress to Jekyll on 9/2/23. Forgive the misformatting until I get a chance to clean it up.

Using a software firewall (adblocker) has become an essential tool in protecting my privacy online. While the current business model of the “free” Internet relies upon advertising revenue, publishers have become too flippant about tracking users without their consent. Advertising networks track our browsing habits around the Internet building lucrative profiles to exploit for targeted marketing or big data research. Until Internet publishers develop more transparency or a new business model, we must continue to take the protection of our privacy into our hands.

Typical adblockers run as an extension in modern web browsers. As we browse the Internet, they compare the requests being made by the sites we visit their list of hosts and filters to block advertisements, trackers, and general annoyances selectively. This measure helps protect the surfer’s privacy, prevents malvertising attacks, and reduces bandwidth requirements. Many individuals and organizations work hard to maintain these filter lists for anyone to use. Locating and selecting these filter lists, however, is not a necessarily easy process. This weekend, I built FilterLists for just that purpose. FilterLists is the community-driven, independent, and comprehensive directory of all public filter lists for advertisements, trackers, and annoyances.


Disclaimer: I do not condone or endorse implementing any particular filter list or blocking any particular advertisement network. Make sure to financially support your favorite sites in some way if you choose to block their ads.