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https://amiunique.org/tools has a list of recommended privacy tools.

  • uBlock
  • Ghostery
  • HTTPS Everywhere
  • Lightbeam
  • AdBlock Plus
  • Disconnect
  • Privacy Badger
  • NoScript
  • Self-destructing cookies

However, aren't uBlock, Ghostery, AdBlock, Disconnect and Privacy Badger the same thing: Add-ons that block calls to unwanted servers (ads, trackers, etc.)?

I don't want to use more add-ons than necessary, so I'd prefer to choose just one if they all do the same thing. (Which one to choose is not part of the question.)

(I realise that they may have different block lists, but I'm asking of the functionality they provide are essentially the same: Blocking calls to unwanted servers.)

If they actually differ significantly in functionality, please explain specifically what they do and what makes them so different that I can truly benefit from using several of them.

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They are not all for the same purpose nor work the same way, but some of them do have overlapping features. They are not all essentially the same, but you can divide them into these categories:

  • Ad blockers: UBlock, Ghostery, AdBlock Plus. They destroy annoying elements from websites – those that are trying to sell you something you don't need (or show you tits when you are not in the mood). It might be good to have one from this category, but not more.
  • Less tracking: Lightbeam, Disconnect, Privacy Badger. These block cookies or other common elements between sites that can be used to combine your visits on different sites i.e. track you. They don't really care what you'll see, and they are less dependent on predefined list of "unwanted" servers or sources. I think Lightbeam doesn't block anything but lets you see what's happening.

    Privacy Badger has a list of know tracking sites but it also learns from your visits. Privacy Badger can remove some ads too, but if you really dislike ads, even still image banners, ad blockers are needed. Ad blockers can prevent Privacy Badger from learning new things, but the outcome with both enabled is similar. Read more from: How is Privacy Badger different from Disconnect, Adblock Plus, Ghostery, and other blocking extensions?

    Self-destructing cookies deletes cookies when you close the browser, no matter what site.

  • NoScript deals with all scripts rather than adds/tracking, and has opposite whitelist based approach. NoScript removes some ads merely as a side effect. It doesn't handle tracking cookies, but it can help against browser fingerprinting by giving out less information.

  • HTTPS Everywhere has least to do with anything before: it prevents HTTPS downgrade attacks.

You don't need several tools from a single category, but you may want one from every category as they work against different problems. While some tools might coincidentally end up doing tasks of another tool, this layering becomes handy when you whitelist a page on one tool. Say you want to disable your ad blocker on a media streaming site to be able to watch a video, or trust a site to run scripts mandatory for it to work properly, but the Privacy Badger still removes tracking elements etc.

  • This was very enlightening! Thanks a lot. They should have this on their website. It's interesting that PB doesn't have blacklists like the others, however I was a bit unsure how it actually works and how effective it is, since it says it "learns" and "works over time". – forthrin Feb 14 at 7:34
  • Privacy Badger has a blacklist of known trackers, but it's also learning constantly: it blocks a possible tracking element after seeing it on three different sites. – Esa Jokinen Feb 14 at 7:38

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