sturlabragason ,

I like how everyone is just going fucking nuts in this thread; combing over the code, contacting the maintainer, running a Wireshark trace on it. Good work everyone!

aPirate OP ,

Op here, from what I have been seeing from everyone there are suspicious elements to darkreader, I’ll keep it for right now though I may eventually switch to something else or use TamperMonkey or Stylus. Thanks everyone for all your knowledge and help.

TheAnonymouseJoker Mod , avatar

Most likely to sync their global blacklists and whitelists for dark and light filters for the addon, and/or as a ping counter for number of users using/removing addon. Also, the addon’s news section.

I see no concern with Dark Reader, as a personal user of it since years. I thoroughly vet my addons, and “Dark Reader” and “Dark Background and Light Text” are what I trust.

Mikelius , avatar

Just ran a Wireshark on it for 12 hours. The only thing it ever does is a frequent ping to their home site, but includes no useful data other than an IP address if you’re not on VPN. I wouldn’t worry about it personally. If it’s a big deal, DNS block or block pings to it through your firewall… Chances are it’s just to download the latest css rules when they have them or something.

Raisin8659 , avatar

Since I am not in anyway inclined to go read their code, I probably will just trust FF’s “recommended” flag until there is an obvious problem. Of course, when it is like that, then it’s too late. I tried the “Dark theme” on FF for a little bit, switch back to using Dark Reader in no time.

nix , (edited ) avatar

The coder of Hover Zoom+ publishes all the offers he gets to sell his users data. Here’s an offer that mentions their partnership with Dark Reader:


We’d love to have redacted sponsor Hover Zoom+ in a similar manner to how we’re partnering with Dark Reader. See attached for how that partnership has come to life, but we’re honestly super flexible on implementation. We’d essentially love to pay you in exchange for helping us drive users to redacted.

Based on this it seems like Dark Reader has sold out to some type of partnership of some kind. If they did agree to start selling users data without informing their users would they even publish this code on their github? They could easily publish code that didn’t include the code in the extension to track their users.

Im going to try emailing them and I think I’ll be looking for an alternative

Edit: I went to their website to find an email to contact them and wow. I know they want people to download their app but this is excessive I cant dismiss this giant button to download the app and when I accidentally clicked it, it became wayy bigger and doesn’t hide

Edit 2: they replied

I’ve never heard about Hover Zoom. At the moment we only partner with Honey and DuckDuckGo, you can see their banners and install their products. We don’t collect any data. Best Regards, Redacted

Follow up email:

The dates reflect with Toucan, again, we had installation links to their app. Last year their product was shut down. Some time ago it was acquired by a bigger company.

I then asked mentioned your concern about the extension periodically phoning home and they replied:

The extension periodically checks if there are new blog posts on the website and displays the latest news in the News section, Redacted

Seems alright imo

Edit 3: I’m actually confused by the email because it states their only partnered with Honey and Duckduckgo but they also have Adblockplus, icon8, Vpnwelt, and instinctools in their sponsored section?

Edit 4: I asked why there were more links in the sponsored section than Honey and Duckduckgo and they replied

It depends on your business structure. You need an agreement for advertising services, or some invoices, and pay taxes from your revenue. Open Collective acts as an intermediate, we don’t have agreements with those sponsors or any invoices, just decided to put their links on our website to attract more sponsors.

Seems a little odd but overall understandable.

fachpersonal ,

Thank you for the effort researching all of this!

ReversalHatchery ,

I think what they replied in your 4th edit is a bit more than odd. Are they doing free advertisement for those others?

nix , avatar

No, the others are people who support their OpenCollective. They put the links there basically to say “these people support me, you can too”

GlitzyArmrest , avatar

A valid question that got me thinking. It’s probably relatively straight forward to use something like TamperMonkey instead especially if you only care about a few sites being in dark mode. Might be worth looking into as an alternative.

danileonis , avatar

I remove it time ago since I noticed slowing-down on my Firefox.

nixx1338 ,

The recommended action when your CPU can’t handle it is to switch the mode to Filter or Filter+ instead of Dynamic. It’s not as good looking but it does darken the website at least.

kraniax ,

Personally I don’t like this kind of extensions since they affect your browser’s fingerprint. But yeah, it looks bad.

celmit ,

maybe you’re up to something, look at my comment in this post

macallik ,

Good find

Qvest ,

If you don’t know how to read code, then you pretty much have to trust them, and all other open-source software out there. The good thing with FOSS is that there’s probably someone who cares about it enough to read it and audit it, although there can also be a chance that no knowledgeable person cares about the code so no one ends up actually knowing what it’s doing.

I don’t know how to read code, so I pretty much have to trust all of the FOSS that I use. Although open-source is usually more trustworthy than proprietary counterparts (read: PRISM)

Zerush , avatar

FOSS is only reliable if it is maintained and has an active community. With FOSS that hasn’t had updates in years, as sometimes found on GitHub, Gitlab and others, you have to take it with a grain of salt. We must not forget that being open source, it is also easy for malicious actors to discover security holes or inject some malware, which in a software that lacks supervision or is abandoned is not discovered. Although it is true that FOSS is usually quite secure, it is not carved in stone and you always have to be careful, as with any other software. Security and privacy always depends on the dev or the company, it’s irrelevant if it is FOSS or not. The APIs to track userdata and log its activity from Google, Amazon, Fakebook and others, are all FOSS.

Zerush , avatar

Normally it isn’t a problem if an app phones home to its homepage, eg, looking for updates. I think that DarkReader is trustworth. But it’s anyway good to use the less extensions possible, because they always add a privacy flaw to the browser as any third party app. In Vivaldi instead of the Dark Reader i use the own Dark Mode in flags, it has also an ivert filter, among others, in the Page Actions menu.

Lemongrab , avatar

Chromium has a dark mode flag, Firefox to my knowledge doesn’t.

Zerush , avatar

No, FF don’t have, it need an extension, but as i said, Dark Reader is trustworth to use.

Lemongrab , avatar

I cant getting dark reader tobplay well on Mull. Breaks page loading randomly

Zerush , avatar

Well, depending on the system, there may always be incompatibilities. Try with one of the other FOSS alternatives…

Or if you know CSS, you can style the webpages to your like with Stylus (FOSS) (also permit to import pre made styles from other authors of the community)

Lemongrab , avatar

Very cool. I am familiar with CSS so ill try that as well.

nottheengineer ,

They better be trustworthy, otherwise my eyes will be very unhappy.

anon5621 , offer to review the source code.

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