Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Universal Jobmatch: track-free job search

with 18 comments

Ipswich Unemployed Action reveals how you can reduce the impact of your Universal Jobmatch jobsearch tracking in 3 easy steps. You will not be able to login to the website if following this guide. 

This is a very rough “not perfect but it works” solution to the privacy problem. A simpler solution of disabling javascript will not work as the site requires it to be enabled in order to work.  This doesn’t mask or hide your IP address and hostname but aims to prevent such going to their logging system.

1. Kill the external websites

One of the easiest ways is to block external third party domains with the windows host file.

When you visit https://jobsearch.direct.gov.uk you actually also load up javascript and images on media.gra.businesslink.gov.uk and statse.webtrendslive.com – this tracks your activities including via cookies.

Using windows host file

We recommend (if you know what you are doing) to open up your windows host file (assuming you are on Windows of course!) stored at C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\host (the drive letter and windows directory may vary)

You are likely to have to change permissions on the file in order to write to it. Make sure once you happy with it working that you change

This file looks like this (assuming you haven’t added to it) – the dates are a bit backwards as this is from Windows XP.

# Copyright (c) 1993-1999 Microsoft Corp.
#
# This is a sample HOSTS file used by Microsoft TCP/IP for Windows.
#
# This file contains the mappings of IP addresses to host names. Each
# entry should be kept on an individual line. The IP address should
# be placed in the first column followed by the corresponding host name.
# The IP address and the host name should be separated by at least one
# space.
#
# Additionally, comments (such as these) may be inserted on individual
# lines or following the machine name denoted by a ‘#’ symbol.
#
# For example:
#
# 102.54.94.97 rhino.acme.com # source server
# 38.25.63.10 x.acme.com # x client host

127.0.0.1           localhost

The sole entry by default (sometimes two, depending on your version of Windows) will be localhost. 127.0.0.1 is the “loopback” address – this is a quick way of referring back to your own computer without needing to know your network or public IP address. If you had a web server loaded on your PC then typing in 127.0.0.1 or localhost will load the website up.

Underneath the localhost entry add the following (one per line, tab between IP and web address) :-

127.0.0.1          media.gra.businesslink.gov.uk

127.0.0.1          statse.webtrendslive.com

This prevents your web browser doing a real DNS check on the domains featured and loading to their real server – instead it loads those websites on your home computer. The difference is, as you don’t have a web server setup on your PC, the request simply fails. Technically, its like trying to use the internet when your internet is down… just for those sites.

By router

If you have a router or firewall you can block access to media.gra.businesslink.gov.uk and statse.webtrendslive.com websites. How to do this will vary depending on the manufacturer and model.

No option to block by domain? You might be able to block by keyword in the URL – we recommend the following words:-

businesslink         webtrends         UKMGSCORE         Log.ashx         ApplyDeclined.aspx

2. Ban evil jobsearch.direct.gov.uk elements

Sorry Chrome-fanboys… we are using Firefox. (The desktop PC version)

Download Adblock Plus (many of you probably already have it installed!) – you wont need to restart your browser.

You will need to create rules for the following…

https://jobsearch.direct.gov.uk/JavaScripts/*
https://jobsearch.direct.gov.uk/channels/UKMGSCORE/Javascript/*

You can do this by right-clicking an image on jobsearch.direct.gov.uk and pasting them in the box. It will notify you that the image you right-clicked wont be blocked with this rule, obviously.. its ok… the asterisk is a must… it is a wildcard character which means anything… i.e. all files and subdirectories

Ban cookies

This is optional… there will be very few cookies remaining after the script removal. Its possible you can still login to the website – but no promises… haha

Side-effects

The site will be more trickier now… the autocomplete ajax suggestions in the 3 search boxes will no longer work or exist.

3. rewrite the site for our advantage!

In order to do this we need to install Grease Monkey for firefox. This allows addins written in javascript to be loaded after a page loads. (disabled javascript will destroy this concept!) For your privacy and performance the scripts only run on certain domains… in this case the following only work on https://jobsearch.direct.gov.uk.

The addins are not compiled or encrypted… so (assuming you understand the coding language) you can see whats going on. The files are commented too.

No sanction set-up!

This first script is a little pointless. You need to be logged in before the form can set you up, but we believe that the DWP will change this in the new year and log by cookies or IP address server-side, after they realise after the exposure people are not quite that stupid.

This Universal Jobmatch (no sanctions) script simply gets rid of the form.

Rewrite Search features

This second script is pure genius. There is two major aspects how the search tracks you when disregarding the cookies…

  1. Redirect links
    The search links are like follows : “http://jobsearch.direct.gov.uk/GetJob.ashx?JobID=144678&JobTitle=CARE+WORKER&rad_units=miles [..]” (the [..] means we have cut the long URL shorter)
    Anyone notice the link isn’t secure AND that its ashx not aspx? We will take an educated guess that the secure website has tracking limitations due to security so this is a work-around.
    The link then does to: “https://jobsearch.direct.gov.uk/GetJob.aspx?JobID=144678&JobTitle=CARE+WORKER&rad_units=miles [..]
    This script does one better and rewrites the first links to simply “https://jobsearch.direct.gov.uk/GetJob.ashx?JobID=144678Short and sweet!! 
  2. Javascript event pagination links
    To track you the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 , 6-10, next links are actually javascript functions passed through” _jsevt” with parameters – the script replaces the link with a javascript-free friendly URL that has one flaw of removing non-input location information resulting in a more realistic amount of jobs and less from the other side of the country.

You can get the Universal Jobmatch (link rewrite) script here.

Bottom line: Thank you for reading. Big thanks to unknown for the above advice and unknown for the scripts. £20m website improved for what… a fiver (£5)? Doing the above might infringe the Terms & Conditions of Universal Jobmatch.

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Written by Universal Jobmatch

December 2, 2012 at 11:25 am

18 Responses

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  1. Or quite simply you could use an online proxy service.

    (many are quite dodgy in regards to security themselves hence the longer above method)

    Universal Jobmatch

    December 2, 2012 at 11:46 am

  2. These interesting techniques described in this post make scraping the site just that bit easier than the old site. Believe it or not. But you’ld still be violating some clause in the T&Cs, even using automation such as Greasemonkey.

    It has to be remembered that the Ordinary-joe that’ll be using this site, and indeed the vacancy submission one too, will not display this level of web-programming sophistication. The most popular posting on the old (Jobseeker) site was “Care assistants and home carers”.

    Martin Sullivan

    December 2, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    • Yeah scrapping is very simple. The only difficulty at current is getting around the javascript pagination but this can easily be rewritten (as with the script – obviously server side language if scrapping). Obviously, this isn’t allowed.

      I did look at the T&Cs and surprisingly enough this is no violation – if it was a custom web browser rather than an popular browser with an addon, then it would be prohibited. There is clause about modifying/changing content… but prefers to unauthorised changing of the website.. and not modifying your local cached version (grease monkey works once page is downloaded, not as the page is downloading).

      I am sure this will keep them on their toes… probably update their T&Cs again.

      Universal Jobmatch

      December 2, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    • From last 7 day stats:

      Universal Jobmatch: How On Earth Can It Work? 2,850
      Universal Jobmatch for Jobseekers 2,310

      Andrew Coates

      December 2, 2012 at 12:47 pm

  3. Oh the links…

    Install Grease Monkey on Firefox… with Grease Monkey enabled click Universal Jobmatch (no sanctions) to install. This will remove the sanctions form etc.

    Install Grease Monkey on Firefox… with Grease Monkey enabled click Universal Jobmatch (link rewrite) to install. This will rewrite links for less tracking.

    Feel free to download and upload to your hosting – I am sure this will only last 24 hours. So mirrors are very much welcomed. Make sure you post a link here or gain credit for doing so (i.e. if you will be sharing privately)

    Universal Jobmatch

    December 2, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    • Ipswich Unemployed Action would be interested to know whether jobseekers can login and jobsearch with the above techniques deployed. As long as cookies are enabled all should be fine.

      Universal Jobmatch

      December 2, 2012 at 1:08 pm

  4. How about I just don’t use the site instead?

    job seeker

    December 2, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    • You are getting it…. (the motto behind this all is: save yourself the bother and not use the site) hehe

      Universal Jobmatch

      December 2, 2012 at 2:06 pm

  5. Universal Jobmatch is NOT compulsory and any Jobcentre staff that pretend it is could be guilty of “official misdirection”:

    http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/department_for_work_and_pensions_group/dwp-news.cfm/id/D34395B0-26B7-4E67-81B32F80CFEBB3E8

    Argurious

    December 4, 2012 at 2:30 pm

  6. Tricky as I’ve been forced onto UJ under threat of sanctions, and don’t own a computer. WP one doesn’t let you change anything. This one doesn’t either.
    UJ webShite is CRAP. In the section on help it says there are places you can get to put in ‘Work Considerations’ and ‘Availability’, where it says is the place to mention care responsibilities, disability, health etc. BUT when I looked for this it was nowhere. The shitty site puts you down as ablebodied so all these mystery employers will assume that too, and contact you with offers for jobs you can’t do. Of course if you turn it down you lose your dole. the equality questionnaire is compulsory and does not ask if you are disabled. possibly because in the view of irritable bowel syndrome and his friends everyone is ablebodied or dead. Scary to have to put your orientation on a form winging its way to ?Utah? where there are so many rightwing religious fundamentalists. The WP guy ‘helping’
    everyone else was automatically entering ‘white british’ as their ethnicity! Didn’t ask!
    When I said I didn’t want UJ the WP threatened to have my dole stopped for not complying, I only stopped this Sanction by being forced to sign up.
    BTW, there was an OMG moment at WP. They are doing a food hygiene course. And a guy there who you could smell 10 metres away (think sewer) applied. He was drunk, enough to smell it, had not washed in apparently years??? Had also puked down himself. I was glad for once I’d not eaten or I’d have been sick, this is who they put next to me. It made jobsearch extra difficult, I was already on a bust computer and crap chair, trying not to gag/breathe. (Just to point out, it is gross, I’m trying to be non-judgmental as possible and just report the FACTS.) The guy wasn’t homeless so how will they cope when people thrown out due to housing benefit caps, get sent to work programme? I’ve been homeless and did my best to wash every day. Really don’t want to be there again, I have shelter but this winter my feet are swelling up and very painful, would be worse on the street. Anyway they are sending the guy on the course. Probably the first point of the course is ‘do not go anywhere near anyone else’s food in that state’.
    If for instance you have 100% double incontinence HOW are you supposed to get basically any or most types of job? Let’s say you are paralysed waist down but without a stoma/bag. And need assistance going to the toilet and getting cleaned up. Not all employers let carers in; so would they tell you to pick a colleague to do this job? What if your colleagues are workfare? Of the opposite sex? Hate you?
    WP has a construction skills theory exam which is fairly easy to pass, but what about practical skills? On paper I could be a builder now! except I’m physically completely unable to do the job. Maybe at 18 I could have done bricklaying but of course not brick carrying or anything up ladders/at heights.
    if paid care workers NOW do things like spit in people’s food, leave them lying unturned in bedsores and excrement, not wash hands after using toilet then prepare food… (any number of documentaries on this) What about when they are all sacked and replaced by people on workfare with no training, no CRB check, no experience, no insurance, no right to be there?
    Workfare can send companies people with criminal records, severe mental health issues, whatever. The company has to take whoever it’s sent.
    WP just has Construction and Food Handling placements. I’m too disabled for Construction and too germy to prepare others’ food (I’m also veggie so don’t handle meat). JCP (who only have 2 computers, prebookable, in the city, serving 4,000-odd unemployed people all of whom are meant to spend 40 hours a week on their computer jobsearch!) say it’s my fault for being unable to do either placement and threaten to stop my dole.
    Benefits cut: Things won’t become 1% a year cheaper so we will have even less to live on.

    My point above: if you are actually leaking shit the government insists you are ‘able to work’ so should apply for all jobs! They are mental. On Beyond Boundaries the girl in the wheelchair needed loads of help being carried around, several times a day somebody had to do ‘manual rectal extraction’ from her, they had a budget and a full support team. Without any budget or support, people with similar conditions are being told to go to workfare – and are they supposed to just soil themselves, then sit in it at work all day?
    IDs ought to know what I’m talking about, he leaks shit every time his mouth opens…

    If for example you are sent to a tiny firm with one staff toilet, probably an ablebodied toilet. But maybe you need an hour or so cleaning up after you use the toilet, maybe at least 3 times per day. You are not at work during that time but others can’t access the toilet either.
    Or, what if you are a workfare ‘client’ (=victim) on cancer treatment that makes you puke a lot? that’s going to look great in a fashion shop, charity shop (many don’t have staff toilet), cafe, outdoors cutting logs, whatever.

    This week I found out some things about WP. I was not only the only one able to do my own UJ typing; and the only one who had had a wash and arrived sober (hard not to as I never drink); I was also unique in being the only member of what is now ‘group Therapy
    @Wankfare’ to have never been to prison. Well I have to concede this much to IDS, the WP has taught me something after all! God, we should ‘consolidate our skill set’, or some other corp-speak, and pick their locks (Government) and steal their identities (they do it to us, not only steal but sell to USA and every fraudster out there), or take down whatever computer started UJ…

    Universal JobSplat doesn’t let you put down nothing in the box for ‘Skills’. but most times you try to put something in, it rejects it. Or says it will save it but then doesn’t. It only has spaces for 5 ‘Skills’ so that is useless. It often enters something you didn’t type. I tried typing ‘English’ and it put Engineering. if your computer is a total div then how are even vaguely-relevant employers meant to get hold of you? Anyway it let me enter 3 skills (2 of which it surreptitiously later deleted from my account), and then I pressed the button to match me to Jobs, wonderful jobs.

    It wanted me to be a meat-carver in Widnes! And since there is no function to specify major obstacles such as vegetarianism, germs, tiny size, being hundreds of miles away… I could get a SAnction (SA: like the SS) for not applying for it. So to put them off doing that, I attempted to click on the ‘apply’ button for another job, also far away and almost as unsuitable. But it didn’t work. The same again with every other one I tried. And it wouldn’t let me log my search so it doesn’t even count. The ex-cons on WP even with WP help could not upload a CV. The WP staff don’t know how to use UJ and admit having no training on it.

    utter, utter shite. Whoever made UJ seems to have failed Website Design 101.

    3 days before, all the following people at JobCentreMinus (exam score: minus-figures)
    were ‘mandated to Work Programme’:
    -A man with one leg.
    -a man too young for a pension and too old to actually work, drunk, street homeless.
    He filled in a form (arthritis, took ages) and as he left they threw the form in the bin after ripping it up. they laughed.
    -A man with severe mental illness
    -A man with severe cerebral palsy and learning difficulties. He took ages getting in the building and they asked him endless questions but he can’t communicate or be understood at all by anyone. they threatened stopping his benefits cause he couldn’t get out his signing on book and other documents, couldn’t answer questions, etc. Basically for being disabled. Mandated to WP.
    (what job could he do?) -can’t wash himself either..
    -A woman who needed help to use/understand Jobpoint machines. A JCP member of staff stood with her 2 hours doing her jobsearch for her, at the end she still didn’t understand how to use it.
    -Somebody who just got out of jail, and is banned from living in his own house; but they didn’t get that all the documents they want from him are there.
    -A woman who is homeless (B&B/temporary emergency housing) after fleeing her boyfriend who beat her up. she mentioned being worried that if forced to go on Universal Jobmatch and upload her CV with address he will use the site to track her down. she has 2 kids (one in JCP with her), one is disabled. They have just cut her child benefit because of running away from her partner! She might get thrown out as there is a time limit and she wants to find somewhere more permanent and secure to live, she gave up drinking, giving up smoking. JCP made her phone DWP and tell them her medical info and that of her kids (who aren’t the claimant!), Anyway she says all the stress caused depression and mental issues. She says she CAN work but just not right now. Mandated to WP.

    After they all left the staff, who seem to have plenty of time and nothing to do, were laughing and joking about every person including all those above. They were mocking/imitating them. They said to eachother how much they liked sanctioning people, who had hit their quota for sanctions this week, how each was obviously lying. I watched them ‘discuss’ each case to put sanctions through, it was just a jokey informal and nasty short conversation between two juniors about each person, resulting each time in a sanction going through. To clarify, they did not SANCTION those above except the mentally ill man. They said you should begin by assuming they are all liars. And kept saying ‘I don’t believe him’ etc. before putting through a sanction on somebody’s case. Quite often it was for people who they acted normal and friendly to while the person was present, did not even hint anything was wrong. Soon as they go, staff had ‘a natter’ and decided to sanction the person. i overheard 4 hours of this going on. So i tried to view the info, the same data, objectively AND from the staff’s point of view too. But looked at from every angle there was nothing in any of the cases to warrant a sanction or to even raise ‘a doubt’. It could be sadism but combined with the need to achieve Quotas of people to kick off benefits.

    ‘universal jobmatch – not fit for purpose.’

    jobCentrePlus – helping you into graves
    (which we expect you to dig yourselves, you workshy scrounging scum!)

    something survived...

    December 8, 2012 at 1:18 am

  7. Mmmm…well if it’s all for the good of the motherland I don’t mind living in a Nazi Germany.

    J.Wilderbeast

    December 21, 2012 at 11:43 am

  8. These experiences and the treatment of people described, are horrendous and wholly unacceptable . If you can share these insights, maybe brought a newspaper or documentary, surely there’d be an uproar. This has got to stop. Thank you for sharing ‘Something Survived’ At Stockport JC I was told ( Dec 5th) that UJM was in fact mandatory , then kept waiting for an hour when I was DIRECTED to register.The wrongful sanctioning of people is unethical and should be unlawful.

    janemccourtJane

    January 5, 2013 at 11:22 pm

  9. Teachers should be clamoring for jobs in dexter missouri crime rate ISD instead of teaching in Granbury or Burleson because our pay is inadequate.
    In another strange twist to the story, Angelia Joiner, former
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    alphagammarho.org

    June 26, 2013 at 5:13 pm

  10. I used to have a lightweight linux distro running in a virtual machine (set up with Virtualbox) purely for accessing the Universal Job Match site. Not because I particularly have anything to hide, but because I resent being sneakily tracked when there’s no need.

    And when I did find another job I wrote a letter of complaint to my former Work Programme company outlining many instances of their incompetence and unprofessionalism, including letting me hear them making fun of another client. I’m sure they loved that – especially when they saw I’d copied it to my MP. Perhaps I can help someone else avoid the nightmare I had with them – not putting money on it, but if enough people speak out then you never know!

    Fay

    July 16, 2013 at 10:15 am

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    December 30, 2014 at 7:14 pm

  13. The UJ site has now got so bad you need a server based scraper to sort through the cr#p. What with bona fide employment agencies punting a single part-time-local job from Lands End to John O Groats and don’t forget the parasite agencies. These don’t actually have any jobs when you follow the ‘Apply’ button and whose website exists soley as a place to show Google adverts.

    Jon

    April 1, 2015 at 4:33 pm


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