Facebook’s love/hate Relationship with Privacy

Good morning!
Have you done your planting yet?  We have. It was exhausting.
GardenFox-5158

Privacy at the Forefront

Citizens of the Internet (Netizens, if you will) are becoming more and more concerned with privacy, and are becoming more proactive in achieving it. Using proxy and VPN service, password lockers, and many other strategies, people are taking matters into their own hands. Internet behemoths such as Facebook seem to be, on the surface anyway, taking notice.

WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, already features some relatively beefy security measures such as end to end encryption. Now, self destructing messages may heading for Facebook Messenger, letting users decide just how long a message lasts before expiring and disappearing forever into the Great Internet Ether.

Not that kind of ether.
Not that kind of ether.

But are these measures just lip service on Facebook’s part? Very likely.

You know those cutsie little emotie-options which have replaced the plain old like button? You didn’t think those were just for show did you?

It may be old news but it bears repeating. Facebook is using those emoji and keeping tabs on how you use them, gathering every scrap of data it possibly can to keep you coming back for more. Confirming it to Mic, Facebook will be adding those emojis into the constant stream of data which it feeds the great Difference Engine which is it’s algorithm.

A visualization of data being drained from you and fed into the algorithm.
A visualization of data being drained from you and fed into the algorithm.

Some agencies, such as the Belgian Federal Police, have cautioned people to not use them at all, stating “if it appears that you are in good spirits, Facebook will infer that you are receptive and will be able to sell advertising space by explaining to the advertisers that they are more likely in that way that you will react,” the police said in a statement. “One more reason therefore to not rush to click if you want to protect your privacy”.

So, emoji at your own risk when it comes to Facebook. They are, after all, watching.

Now offering SOCKS5 and HTTPS proxy service, free with all paid accounts!

We now offer 2 more ways for you to connect to your paid FoxyProxy account:

This is in addition to the previous ways we already offered:

  • HTTP proxy
  • PPTP VPN
  • OpenVPN

SOCKS5 Proxies

SOCKS5 is an internet protocol which sends data between you and your destination (e.g. facebook.com) using a proxy server. For users of HTTP proxy servers, this is nothing new.

proxyserver

So what’s different about SOCKS5? Why bother with it?

Why should I use a SOCKS5 proxy server instead of HTTP(S) proxy servers?

Using SOCKS5 is a great option if the main goal is downloading torrents/P2P or the use of other software that is not web-based like browsers… for example, uTorrent, deluge, transmission, and instant messenger software like Skype.

There are many benefits of using SOCKS proxy servers. We list some of them here:

All kinds of traffic can be accommodated

Unlike HTTP proxies which only work with webpages, SOCKS5 proxies work with any kind of traffic. This is because SOCKS5 proxy servers bundle or wrap any kind of internet traffic from any program.

Better performance with Torrents and P2P

Compared to HTTP and HTTPS proxy servers, SOCKS5 can offer faster download speeds and overall performance for smaller bits of data

[tech] SOCKS5 proxies implement full UDP, they enable users to connect to all the peers in a swarm, which results in better download speeds and overall performance.

If the SOCKS5 proxy server were to be interrupted, your P2P/torrent process would stop communicating… keeping your IP address secure.

Better performance than HTTP Proxies

The performance for some HTTP proxies can suffer because the proxy server rewrites data packet headers. SOCKS5 proxy servers do not rewrite data packet headers, so there is less overhead and faster connection times.

Reliable and efficient connections

SOCKS5 proxy servers use both TCP and UDP protocols . TCP is an internet protocol that forms a connection between a client and a server, making sure that all the packets arrive from one side to the other. It requires fitting the content into a fixed format so that it can be transferred easily.

UDP is an internet protocol that does not focus on whether all packets from a client or a server reach to the other side and in the same order. Therefore, UDP is more efficient than TCP in that it does not waste time in converting the data packets into a proper stream or fixed packets that are sent upon establishing a connection. A combination of these two means that a user is guaranteed a reliable and efficient performance from his internet connection. This is what your normal internet connection gives your — and what SOCKS5 proxy servers give you, but not an HTTP or HTTPS proxy server.

HTTPS proxies

You already get HTTP proxy servers with you paid FoxyProxy account. So what is an HTTPS proxy?

Security

When you use an HTTP proxy server, the data sent between you and the proxy server is unencrypted…even if you visit a website like https://facebook.com. The data between the proxy server and the https://facebook.com IS encrypted… but not the data between you and the proxy server.proxyserver

HTTPS proxy servers encrypt the data between you and the proxy server: 1.1.1.1 and 2.2.2.2 in the diagram. The data between 2.2.2.2 and the destination website is encrypted when the browser bar shows https:// or has a green padlock. So, using an HTTPS proxy server is more secure than using an HTTP proxy server.

How to use it?

Unfortunately, support for HTTPS proxy servers with authentication is limited in web browsers today. It’s quite complicated to configure them. But we’re working on step-by-step instructions for those who google the process and can’t follow along with the instructions that are already out there. The key point here is that authentication is required in the browser so that you can enter a username/password to access your paid FoxyProxy account.

 

Double Plus Good

Good morning! Happy spring.
Smell some flowers.
spring fox

FoxyProxy Plus is back on the menu!

We’re happy to announce that FoxyProxy Plus is once again available for purchase for use with Firefox.  FoxyProxy Plus gets you licensed for commercial use.  Essentially the same as FoxyProxy Standard, but with some essential additions:

  1. Switch your IP address based on your current local (LAN) IP address–perfect if you work from multiple locations, each with different censorship rules
  2. URL training! Click a button to automatically add URL patterns for any/all URLs on a page
  3. Advanced logging, username/password saving

And, as always, our full line of downloads and paid products is available, whether you’re looking for our industry leading open source free software, paid proxy and VPN service, or enterprise grade corporate accounts.

 

We would also like to congratulate the Leicester City FC on their Premier League Championship!

We’d also like to compliment the Foxes on their obvious good choice in name and logo. Not that we’re biased.

What a handsome devil.
What a handsome devil.

 

An Interview With Our Founder

Did you know that 2016 is FoxyProxy’s 10 year anniversary?
Of course you did. You’re a smart person.

fox borthday

In honor of our 10th anniversary year, we put together some questions for our founder Eric Jung. Eric is a published author, formally trained computer scientist, huge open source advocate, and all around cool guy.

Not to mention suave.
Not to mention suave.
  1. What was the catalyst for you to create FoxyProxy? Was your motivation more one of security or accessing content not available to you?

 

It was 2005, and I was working as a contract software developer at a large, well-known insurance company. The company had aggressive web filtering in place. The filtering prevented me from doing my job by blocking access to critical reference sites. I was under tight deadlines to deliver but was having problems delivering.

So, as a go around at the insurance company, I setup a proxy server on my internet connection at home. But the connection speeds to my 2005-era “broadband” DIY home proxy server were slow, slow, slow and unreliable.

I could now bypass website filtering… er, let’s call it what it is… censorship. But not at the speeds I wanted. I needed a way to load only censored websites through my home proxy server and everything else through the normal, blazing-fast, on-site, corporate internet connection.

Firefox was huge at the time. It was open-source software (OSS). There’s a saying in OSS, “Scratch your own itch”. The sentiment means, “If you don’t like something with software that is OSS, change it yourself.” Being a software developer, I researched how I could hack Firefox to selectively load websites across different internet connections .

Shortly thereafter, the FoxyProxy extension for Firefox was born. I released it as free, open-source. And I quickly learned that I’d scratched an itch shared by millions.

FoxyProxy very quickly become a Top-5 most popular extension with an active user community. It was often featured by Mozilla in their Addons Store (addons.mozilla.org). I was lucky this was not my first success with open-source software; I was prepared for the good fortune that followed.

 

  1. Streaming media wasn’t nearly as prevalent in 2006 as it is today. Did you predict the future popularity of streaming media at the time? Are you a wizard?

Ha, I could never get past about a level 3 or 4 magic-user in AD&D (first edition rules). So, I’m a mediocre wizard. Maybe that’s why I became a DM.

Rule number 1: Don't piss off the DM.
Rule number 1: Don’t piss off the DM.

 

  1. Was there any other software at the time which could do what FoxyProxy was doing, or were you wading into unexplored territory?

As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. There definitely wasn’t anything like it; if there had been, I wouldn’t have written FoxyProxy.

 

  1. Tell me about some of the first things you did when you had a proxy up and running. Which websites were you aching to visit but never could before?

Unfortunately, nothing untoward. They were simply sites I need for work, like sourceforge.net (one of the predecessors to github.com), Java API documentation sites, MSDN, and similar.

 

  1. The Internet is notorious for chewing up bright eyed idea havers and spitting them (and their start-ups) viciously out. How did you ensure that FoxyProxy would still be a success after 10 years? Let’s face it, 10 years in internet time is roughly equal to 45 year in real-time.

It’s about making something that people need. “Scratching my own itch” turned out to scratch the itch many others had. And sometimes that scratch be as simple as making potato salad, though potato salad probably isn’t a sustainable business model.

 

  1. What’s your favorite country to browse from, and why?

Iceland. I love the place and love to pretend I’m there.

 

  1. Services like FoxyProxy have been helpful for people living in countries with markedly less freedom of information than we in the US are used to. Tell me about some instances where FoxyProxy has helped someone get information that may have been withheld from them?

Over the years, I’ve received many thank-you emails from individuals who use both FoxyProxy software and our network to bypass censorship in China, Iran, Myanmar, Malaysia, and many others. For example, I received some such emails during the Turkish Gezi Park Protests in 2013 when Turkey blocked social media and other sites.

The FoxyProxy extension is part of the PirateBrowser and for a while, it was an essential part of using tor (before tor had its own browser). We’ve helped reporters bypass internet censorship in places all sorts of unfree places. We’ve given Wall Street Journal and New York Times researchers free access to our network to study topics like consumer protection, online tracking, surveillance, privacy, and price discrimination. We’ve even given the Chief Technologist at the Federal Trade Commission free access to our network at his request. At the moment, we’re sponsoring the DataObservatory project at the Columbia University Data Science Institute. It’s a price discrimination application for hotel and flight bookings, answering questions like “From which country or city can I most cheaply book a room at the Four Points by Sheraton LAX (or any other hotel)?”

 

We will continue to support an open, equal, free internet with all resources at our disposal. HERE’S TO THE NEXT 10 YEARS!

I Stream, You Stream

 Good morning!
Here’s an underrated but amazing song from The 80’s
to get your day going.

Have you been thinking about giving FoxyProxy’s paid service a try but haven’t quite made your mind up?

Well, make up your mind now, because we have two discount codes for you to use, for $5 or $20 off a plan. Head on over here for the details. Our paid service includes both proxy and VPN service, along with dedicated customer service. Go on, give us a try.

 

I stream, you stream, we all scream for a decent selection
of streaming options.

We go on about Netflix a good deal, but as most of you know there are other streaming options as well. Some good, some not so good. (remember when Hulu had a free option?)

Amazon has long offered streaming services, though a lot of people (me, I’m referring to myself here) tend to utterly forget about the streaming service included in a Prime membership and focus on that sweet Free Shipping.

Maybe a drone will deploy a tiny screen for us to watch their streaming video on.
Here’s hoping a drone will deploy a tiny screen for us to watch video on.

No longer, says Amazon! This week, Amazon launched a monthly streaming service aimed to take a bite out of Netflix and Hulu’s market share. At 8.99 a month, it sweetens the deal by allowing the option to download video for later viewing.

What does this mean for us consumers of streaming media?  Both providers are already well into creating their own content along with licensed shows and movies, so competition between them will hopefully mean more choices for us.

What are the geo-restricted offerings on Amazon? STAY TUNED and you’ll find out soon, because we’re going to do a little digging for a future post.

 

Fox Force Five is Go

Good morning. Happy Monday.
You look very nice today. 

handsome fox
What a dandy gentleman.

We want to give a congratulations to Evan Hamrick, first winner of our Free Month promotion! How does one get a month of free service, you ask? Simple. Just keep an eye out on our Facebook page, we’ll be selecting winners through April.

Also, don’t forget we’re offering Discount Codes for our 10th anniversary!

We’re pretty proud to have been around for 10 years, so we’re sharing the excitement with you.

Whether you’re already a customer or thinking about giving us a try (hint: you should), we’re offering you a couple of great discount options. Just use these coupon codes to apply the discount towards your purchase.

fox-force-five
$5 off! That means you can get a 1-month account for $4.99. This is perfect if you’re a month to month subscriber, or if you’ve been thinking about trying our service for yourself.
is-area51-the-home-of-the-grays
Are you in it with us for the long term? We love commitment.  Get $20 off the 6-month ($29.99 instead of $49.99) or 12-month plan (69.88 instead of $89.88)

Checkout using USD. We accept other currencies, but the codes need USD in order to work properly. Codes are good for one-time per customer.

Monday Morning Fun Time

This week, a few useless additions to the Internet of Things came across our desk, so we’re going to be highlighting and laughing at them here. Point and laugh, everyone.

By the way, if you own a smart thing, chances are everyone can see it and know what you’re doing with it. 

Don’t believe me? Check out Thingful and enter your location. Now you’ll think twice about smarting up your home.

Organic, Free Range, Artisanal, Small Batch juicer  Our first ridiculous thing is a juicer which connects to your wi-fi, but wont actually juice anything other than its own brand pre-packaged produce. Which, buy the way, costs between 4 – 10 per pack. I guess if you’re willing to from 700 for a wi-fi juicer, buying pre-packages, pre-chopped veg seems normal.

SmartFork.   Seriously. Switch off your brain, everyone, this fork tracks your eating habits for you and lets you know if you’re eating too quickly.

Smart Wifi Wine Bottle  Ok, a few things here. This contraption promises to keep the rest of your bottle fresh after you’ve had a glass or two. But let’s be very honest – who needs that? Who is leaving wine in the bottle? No one, that’s who. It claims to keep the wine fresh by being all smart and keeping oxygen out, but it turns out that they do that by having the wine in a little plastic pouch inside that fancy canister. Know where else you can get wine pouch wine? From a box. And it’s perfectly good, and a whole lot cheaper than a fancy wifi bottle that displays a digital label.

spill
On the other hand, this family may need smart devices. Get it together, Deborah.

Good morning. Happy Monday.
You look very nice today. 

handsome fox
What a dandy gentleman.

We want to give a congratulations to Evan Hamrick, first winner of our Free Month promotion! How does one get a month of free service, you ask? Simple. Just keep an eye out on our Facebook page, we’ll be selecting winners through April.

Also, don’t forget we’re offering Discount Codes for our 10th anniversary!

We’re pretty proud to have been around for 10 years, so we’re sharing the excitement with you.

Whether you’re already a customer or thinking about giving us a try (hint: you should), we’re offering you a couple of great discount options. Just use these coupon codes to apply the discount towards your purchase.

fox-force-five
$5 off! That means you can get a 1-month account for $4.99. This is perfect if you’re a month to month subscriber, or if you’ve been thinking about trying our service for yourself.
is-area51-the-home-of-the-grays
Are you in it with us for the long term? We love commitment.  Get $20 off the 6-month ($29.99 instead of $49.99) or 12-month plan (69.88 instead of $89.88)

Checkout using USD. We accept other currencies, but the codes need USD in order to work properly. Codes are good for one-time per customer.

Monday Morning Fun Time

 

This week, a few useless additions to the Internet of Things came across our desk, so we’re going to be highlighting and laughing at them here. Point and laugh, everyone.

By the way, if you own a smart thing, chances are everyone can see it and know what you’re doing with it. 

Don’t believe me? Check out Thingful and enter your location. Now you’ll think twice about smarting up your home.

Organic, Free Range, Artisanal, Small Batch juicer  Our first ridiculous thing is a juicer which connects to your wi-fi, but wont actually juice anything other than its own brand pre-packaged produce. Which, buy the way, costs between 4 – 10 per pack. I guess if you’re willing to from 700 for a wi-fi juicer, buying pre-packages, pre-chopped veg seems normal.

SmartFork.   Seriously. Switch off your brain, everyone, this fork tracks your eating habits for you and lets you know if you’re eating too quickly.

Smart Wifi Wine Bottle  Ok, a few things here. This contraption promises to keep the rest of your bottle fresh after you’ve had a glass or two. But let’s be very honest – who needs that? Who is leaving wine in the bottle? No one, that’s who. It claims to keep the wine fresh by being all smart and keeping oxygen out, but it turns out that they do that by having the wine in a little plastic pouch inside that fancy canister. Know where else you can get wine pouch wine? From a box. And it’s perfectly good, and a whole lot cheaper than a fancy wifi bottle that displays a digital label.

10th Anniversary Gifts

Did you know that 2016 is FoxyProxy’s 10th anniversary? Ten years in Internet time is approximately 40 years in real time, so we’re in the mood to celebrate this great milestone.

fox
We’re pretty pleased

Because we love you and we understand that our customers are the most important part of our business, we’re offering a few specials for our anniversary.

Checkout our Checkout Codes! 

Whether you’re already a customer or thinking about giving us a try (hint: you should), we’re offering you a couple of great discount options. Just use these coupon codes to apply the discount towards your purchase.

fox-force-five
$5 off! That means you can get a 1-month account for $4.99. This is perfect if you’re a month to month subscriber, or if you’ve been thinking about trying our service for yourself.
is-area51-the-home-of-the-grays
Are you in it with us for the long term? We love commitment.  Get $20 off the 6-month ($29.99 instead of $49.99) or 12-month plan (69.88 instead of $89.88)

Checkout using USD. We accept other currencies, but the codes need USD in order to work properly. Codes are good for one-time per customer.

In addition to our discount codes, we’ll be choosing one customer a week through April who will receive a free month of service!

What do you have to do to be entered? Keep an eye on our Facebook page. Every week we’ll make a contest post, and everyone who answers will be entered to win. It’s that simple.

Netflix pt. Two: Electric Boogaloo

Good morning, welcome to another Monday!
Fox Tip of the day: treat yourself today. Get that overpriced cup of coffee or that new graphics card you’ve been thinking of. 

We’d like to give a big HEY THANKS! to the very cool, useful, and exceedingly interesting blog Secrets of the Dark for including us in their post “What Does The FoxyProxy Say,” all about the joys of proxy usage on the Dark Web. If you want to give it a shot yourself, you can find our free software downloads as well as info on our subscription service right here!

There’s a pretty good (100%) chance that I, your blogess, will be reading up on Dark Web tricks and tools in order to better track down even more weirdo conspiracy theories.

jimi-foxyproxy
A+ on this image, Secrets of the Dark.

 

Last week, we solved a very annoying Netflix feature which has been plaguing some American users. Specifically, Netflix turned on a test mode for a good chunk of you without even asking, switching up the search categories into useless, non-genred descriptions. Not cool to just flip that test switch with no warning, Netflix.

This week, we’re breaking down some Netflix titles for you so that you can make some good decisions when deciding what to watch while you’re supposed to be working.

As you know, one of the perks of using a proxy is that Netflix’s options change from country to country. We’re sticking with the UK this week, breaking down some of the different choices for Sci-Fi picks, because Sci-Fi is great and we all should watch more of it.

Seriously, it’s a very influential genre both within popular culture and literature, even if those Literary Fiction people think they’re too good for it.

Anyway. 

Available on Netflix UK, but not on US: 

Captain America, Captain America Winter’s Soldier, Thor (UK edges out the US options for Marvel films) Cloverfield, The Mist  (Two very good horror/sci-fi entries) Star Trek Into Darkness, Coherence (A pretty good little indie,) The Hobbit Battle of Five Armies (this is completely not sci-fi but that’s another discussion all together.) Tank Girl, Night of the Comet, Tremors, Spaceballs, (very important movies), Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Available on Netflix US but not Netflix UK:

Star Trek (Netflix US absolutely beats the pants of the UK in regards to Trek. All of the series – even the animated! and all of the films other than the JJ Abrams “efforts”) Galaxy Quest, Nightbreed (a must watch for fans of Clive Barker weirdness) Batman, Serenity, Hellboy, Sharknado 2 (you know you want to) Melancholia, Young Ones, Goodbye World, Snowpiercer (for those of you in the mood for depressing apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic stories) Blade Runner (Your blogess’s most favorite movie)

 

Happy Binging!

Let’s Learn About Netflix.

Good morning!
Was your weekend a good one?
Are you well rested and ready to tackle the week ahead? 

Pretty much sums up our weekend.
Pretty much sums up our weekend.

Weekends are excellent for binge watching, as no doubt most of you know. Most of you probably also use Netflix, so today’s post is going to be the first in a series of educational topics on everyone’s favorite procrastination enabler.

Before I get too far today, I want to share with you this little discovery I made. Fellow American users may have noticed a recent and infuriating change in the way Netflix displays browseable categories.

Come on now.
Absolute garbage, though if this is algorithmic it’s a little revealing. Don’t judge me.
2016-03-06 (3)
So much more sense.

They apparently are testing some changes requested by customers (I don’t believe that for a second. No one would want this, it was probably an intern called Kevin. Thanks, Kevin.) and decided to just blanketly involve us all in testing this without notification.

I finally figured out how to revert back to the old category listing, so I thought I would share this enlightenment with all of you.

Just head on over to your account settings, and click on “test participation.” Then, select the little slider thing to “off.”

2016-03-06

Voilà!
Voilà!

 

You’re all, of course, aware that Netflix offerings change depending on which country you’re watching from. So today, I’m going to highlight some differences between Netflix US and Netflix UK.  For science!

I’ll be looking at British Comedies for this session. The Brits have a unique sense of humor, and one of the best ways to really get to know it is by diving head first into classic British Comedy.

Here are some which are available on Netflix UK but not Netflix US.

Black Adder is a classic starring Rowan Atkinson as an awful nobleman, set in differing time periods. Just…go with it. It also stars Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie (Yes, Dr. House himself,) Miranda Richardson, and others.

I’m Alan Partridge Starring Steve Coogan as a failed tv host/radio host/everything. Weird, sad, dipping with satire and sarcasm, it’s something of an acquired taste for Americans but it’s a good illustration of British humor. Wait, let me spell is as “humour” for my British readers.  I also heartily recommend checking out The Trip, which is Coogan not at Alan Partridge, but really at his best.

The Mighty Boosh  Boy, this is a weird one. There’s not really any describing this skit show other than surreal. Odd. Weird. A bit acid trippy.

Red Dwarf  This one is a classic, well loved among nerds and geeks. It’s set in outer space and features a humanoid cat, a robot, a sentient computer and..well. It’s very British.

Still Game  This one is about three old Scottish friends, in a little Scottish town, with accents so thick you’ll need a Brit with you to translate. Seriously, I can’t understand 80% of it.

Well there you have it. A tiny percentage of the British comedy available on Netflix. Did I miss anything? Let me know!