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By   |  July 14, 2005

Banner advertising, cookies, pop-ups and annoying Java all meet their maker thanks to Privoxy.

Calling it an HTML scrubber is not doing it justice and ignores its manifold manifestations. To novice internet users it\’s a fire-and-forget binary install that makes browsing faster; for experts it\’s a powerful tool that can be used to tweak the surfing experience to whatever depth is required.

Privoxy derives from software first created by Junkbusters, an organisation dedicated to fighting spam and its siblings. It is a transparent local proxy that scrubs outgoing HTML requests and inspects incoming data and slaughters anything it finds unworthy.

The default setting is fairly cautious but will still catch the vast majority of ads regardless of your surfing habits. If that is not good enough, however, a few clicks on the sleek web interface will allow cookies only from trusted sites or display banner ads for every site except those specified.

The level of control depends only on how much time you are prepared to spend tweaking. Privoxy is documented in tedious detail, complete with mini tutorials, and the more hands-on hacker will find the code extensive- ly commented.

Using a capped broadband service? Don\’t let those precious megs bleed away in advertising you don\’t want to see.


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