Data being taken from your computer during TFL visits
Nothing really new here, just hopefully some useful info. Everytime you visit a website you probably know that programs, scripts and processes run without you generally knowing and data is taken from your computer and sent to companies all over the globe. Often these are marketing companies who may then spam you or telephone you but either way your details are likely going into massive data warehouses. Apart from collecting data, these processes open up many "outbound connections" on your PC which can affect performance and of course the data they take contributes to any monthly data allowance you have with your broadband provider.
If you want to stop this from happening then you have to identify the IP addresses where all this data is going to, work out who they are and then instruct your PC firewall to block those IP addresses. I have done this for all of the main websites that I use on a daily basis. I did it because I was appalled at just how many "outbound connections" were opening up everytime I visited my favourite websites, sometimes it was over 100 at a time. It is time consuming identifying the IP Addresses involved and searching the Net to find out which companies own them. However I have done this for The Fresh Loaf website. Surprisingly I found that every time I visited this great site, data from my computer was being sent to over 30 companies !
Now it is one thing for us to see and accept the presence of advertisements on websites (which are often needed to fund the site) but it is another thing entirely to allow a site to take your data and send it to so many different companies. Especially when you can't be sure just what that data is or how it will be used.
Since I have done the groundwork to identify most of the IP addresses that TFL seems to be linked to, I figured it would be useful to some of you to post up a list of them. If you know how to use your firewall, you can simply enter each of these IPs into the "Blocked Zone" area. Once you do this, your data won't be taken again when you visit this website. Obviously this only prevents data scraping when you visit TFL. Ideally you also need to do the same for all your favourite sites. I can't do that for you, but I can give you the list for TFL. So here it is:
IP Addresses collecting data on TFL
(note that Google and Amazon IPs are often involved in data collection activities even if you haven't visited their sites. It is big business ! Blocking these IPs will not affect your use of the actual Google or Amazon websites - but if it did you could easily unblock the IP anyway).
Block the following IPs
184.108.40.206 - Twitter
220.127.116.11 - Amazon
18.104.22.168 - InterNAP Network Services U.K. Limited
22.214.171.124 - Federated Media Publishing
126.96.36.199 - ADIFY CORPORATION
188.8.131.52 - Pubmatic Amsterdam, NL
184.108.40.206 - WebSideStory Search and Content Solutions
220.127.116.11 - RIPE Network Coordination Center
18.104.22.168 - Genuity DSL
22.214.171.124 - Merck and Co.
126.96.36.199 - Facebook Ireland Ltd
188.8.131.52 - Google
184.108.40.206 - EdgeCast Networks
220.127.116.11 - America Online
18.104.22.168 - LIMELIGHT NETWORKS
22.214.171.124 - Unknown
126.96.36.199 - CDNetworks Inc.
188.8.131.52 - Amazon.com
184.108.40.206 - Merck and Co.
220.127.116.11 - Google Inc user content
18.104.22.168 - IP Tones (Peer 1 Network)
22.214.171.124 - Media6Degrees Inc
126.96.36.199 - America Online
188.8.131.52 - RIPE Network Coordination Center
184.108.40.206 - CacheNetworks
220.127.116.11 - LIMELIGHT NETWORKS
18.104.22.168 - CDNetworks Inc
22.214.171.124 - Google
126.96.36.199 - Google
188.8.131.52 - Facebook Ireland Ltd
184.108.40.206 - 220.127.116.11 - CDNETWORKS (ALLTEL Corporation)
The IP for the TFL site itself appears to be 18.104.22.168. Obviously DO NOT block this IP.