Mozilla's Collusion demo shows how you can become a marketing tool

The Internet is free, but you're not free on the Internet. There are ads and cookies and all manner of things which can track your activity online. Mozilla's ethos has always involved maintaining an open web; now they're going to show you just what shadows you online.

The Collusion website is an interactive explanation of how it works, taking you through some of the net's most popular sites. The IMDb, New York Times and Huffington Post are three of the examples, and they give a chance for you to see what ad-providers are following you, and where they're doing so.

I looked at a couple of automotive websites and a few games websites and you can see the result in the above image; it builds up a picture of just how quickly your human presence online becomes a valuable tool for market research. As an added bonus, you can export the entire network of links you're tied to.

Collusion is available from the Mozilla Addons website, and it doesn't require a restart to work either. As a Mozilla project it might never progress to a fully-fledged point, but even now the concept is solid enough to be worth a look.

Source: Mozilla

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BLOCK TRACKING MOST EFFECTIVELY

Use firefox. Deny all cookies in the options menu & select sent "DNT" header.
Install the following;
1 - NoScript
2 - Use "Cookie Monster" & start white listing cookies "per domain bases".
3 - Ghostery with a current database of 1370 IDENTIFIED trackers.
4 - "Request Policy" for all unidentified tracking & miscellaneous requests.

And what, apart from broken internets, will it achieve? Not even a dent to their revenue, be assured of that.

Well, some security, perhaps. Unless you'd disable NoScript for certain sites, then it's all dust anyway.

Oh, thank you, Captain Mozilla Obvious! Who would've thunk that internets is not a dreamland of free, home of the brave, and people that keep running all those services actually expect to be paid with monies, one way or another... mostly another. It's just that folks are completely fine with it. Sad, yes. Avoidable, no.

Also, a fair share of hypocrisy is to be noted here - Mozilla's own whole existance relies on the world's largest ad broker financing them through a search engine deal.

Oh? And tracking serves but three purposes:
* market research, which is either done by advertisers or sold to advertisers, therefore advertisers
* pure evil, surveillance by corrupted powers, owners of you, of me, of everything
* your own interests - this reason serves well to cover up the aforementioned two as an acceptable tradeoff and paranoia, respectively, and is why nobody cares; as long as people are being pampered enough, nobody won't...

Edited by Phouchg, Apr 1 2013, 8:15pm :

Phouchg said,

Also, a fair share of hypocrisy is to be noted here - Mozilla's own whole existance relies on the world's largest ad broker financing them through a search engine deal.

It might be hypocrisy if the article headline came from Mozilla itself.

They are showing a visual representation of the tracking data for the sake of transparency and choice about who tracks you and who doesn't, not making a statement about an inherent evilness in it.

If you're not paying for something, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold.
- Andrew Lewis

This quotation on their page, right at the top, makes a pretty good statement to me.

Phouchg said,

This quotation on their page, right at the top, makes a pretty good statement to me.

Only if you have a problem with that, though, in the context we are talking about.

One would have to be naive to think that "free" online services come at no price whatsoever.

Wikistuff kind of is. Listening to Jimbo The Beggar's as he goes on about it each year (rather rightfully, I must admit) is completely optional.

For the rest... it'd be fine by me if there was a choice (like, say, Neowin subscriptions). There isn't. Mostly isn't. While it isn't free, it is what I'd call "virtually free" - it offers the next lowest possible price before any true charity - a barter of a service in exchange for what most don't consider at all (Average Joe can be pretty naive) or don't consider of any worth, of any real value. There's true in that logic, too - it usually isn't, not by itself, just like a single piece of a really big puzzle isn't worth squat by itself nor is its place immediately clear. It is impossible to complete with free and "virtually free".

Linux is free, is it not?

Installed it, clicked on the icon to open the window - so far so good - some help info plus a big black area. Browsed a dozen favourite sites (inc. Huffington), Collusion window remains solidly black. What am I missing here?

"they give a chance for you to see what ad-providers are following you, and where they're doing so."

Well isn't that a pleasant change....how the tables have turned muhaha *evil emoticon*