New Firefox add-on tracks who is tracking you online

If you do any amount of web surfing on your PC, you know that web sites like to install "cookies" that are supposed to offer users various features when they revisit those sites. But how much information is really being shared between you and all of these web destinations? This week, Mozilla gave users of its Firefox web browser a graphical way to show just how many web sites are tracking them.

The effort is an experimental add-on for Firefox called Collusion. The add-on creates a graphic where the Firefox user can see not just which web sites are tracking their web surfing activities but how many of them are interconnected to each other. In the demo you see above, web sites like the Huffington Post, the New York Times, GameSpot, IMDB.com and more are all shown linked together in one form or another.

Mozilla says that when the full version of Collusion is released, it will also allow users to tell web sites not to share their data. It adds:

Not all tracking is bad. Many services rely on user data to provide relevant content and enhance your online experience. But most tracking happens without users' consent and without their knowledge. That’s not okay. It should be you who decides when, how and if you want to be tracked. Collusion will be a powerful tool to help you do that.

Image via Mozilla

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15 Comments

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There is already a built-in function in Mozilla Firefox to tell sites not to track online. Why is this any different? Are they saying that their check-box function just sucks, or is this an integration with that feature?

Amodin said,
There is already a built-in function in Mozilla Firefox to tell sites not to track online. Why is this any different? Are they saying that their check-box function just sucks, or is this an integration with that feature?

This add-on tells you the sites which aren't complying with the Firefox's Do-Not-Track header.

Amodin said,
There is already a built-in function in Mozilla Firefox to tell sites not to track online. Why is this any different? Are they saying that their check-box function just sucks, or is this an integration with that feature?

That built in one is good enough along with adblock and ghostery. I'm not about to start freaking out over cookies!! Have flashblock also. Only 3 addons I need!!

Don't use Firefox in Windows and very seldom in Linux, but Seamonkey can use all the same (3) addons!!

middydj said,

Does this post need to be updated. FF has changed some since this post.....


Settings hasn't changed.

nitins60 said,
now some one will find a way to track whether firefox tracker is tracking the tracking sites to track the user.

We need a "Yo dawg I heard you like..." joke from that!

GS:mac

Glassed Silver said,

We need a "Yo dawg I heard you like..." joke from that!

GS:mac

Yo dawg I herd you like privacy so I put a tracker on your tracker so you can track while you track.

De.Bug said,

Yo dawg I herd you like privacy so I put a tracker on your tracker so you can track while you track.

...while you're tracked.

If this works I think its a great feature. Privacy is a big issue for most and I really believe the vast majority of interwebnet users don't know how prevalent tracking is.