GeekDad Article: Improve Your Family’s Online Privacy With Plugins

Came across an article yesterday on’s GeekDad blog about online privacy and security.
Improve Your Family’s Online Privacy With Plugins:

To summarize, the author takes extreme measures that leave his browser practically unusable, but hopefully “safe.” He recommends blocking ALL cookies, ads, tracking and scripts, and having tried all of these on occasion myself, I can attest that they usually create a pretty crappy web experience when taken to the extreme. (I take exception for ad-heavy sites, as I will go out of my way to “fix” them to get a better user experience.)

I’ve already added my two cents down there in the comments about ways to stay secure and still have a good user experience (feel free to dispute), but nevertheless it is frustrating to be on both sides. I’d like to think that I’ve found a workable solution for my own web browsing without having to go to the extremes mentioned in the GeekDad article. I’m just wondering what you guys think about this issue. I know there are already threads to discuss individual plugins and topics on what methods are best from a user standpoint, so I want to focus on this question as designers and developers.

“Our choices are rather rotten right now: either protect your privacy with a crippled browser, or give it up for the better user experience.”

But is there anything we can do on the development side to improve this situation? Obviously we should be coding our sites so that they function (as much as possible) with scripts turned off. Tracking has its pros and cons. Ads aren’t usually under our control. And no matter what we do, large corporate sites will continue do whatever the heck they want.

Or are we doing everything right and it’s the user perception and reaction that we should focus on?