Bitly finally starts taking privacy seriously

I've been ranting about Bitly for years! The ubiquitous link shortener had an interesting "feature" - add a + to the end of the URl and you could see all the statistics for the link. How many clicks, referers, location of users.

Here's a blog post I wrote about it way back in 2011.

I often used this feature to explore how popular companies and scammers were:

I even used it to track GCHQ's publishing schedule.

Well, the party is now over. As of last week, Bitly closed the hole. You can only see stats for your own URls:

I'm glad that they've started to take privacy seriously - although I'm slightly sad that I can't eavesdrop on how well links are performing.

But, there's a lesson here. Don't use third-party intermediaries for your links. They sacrifice your privacy and your users' privacy, for very little in return.

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