How much do you like online content? So much you pay for everything you can? Or do you, like the majority of other internet users, accept advertising and tracking as a way of life?
The saying goes “if you don’t pay you are the product”, and in the age of internet and media services, this is truer than ever. Figuring out who and what is tracking you isn’t easy, but there are a number of sites and browser extensions that can give you a little more clarity. Here are some of the best.
Panopticlick is one of the first sites to check out. Panopticlick analyzes your current browser settings, including add-ons and extensions, to measure how many trackers are tracking your browser sessions.
This Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) research project takes this one step further by detailing the unique configuration features that make your browser more visible among tracking data.
How to Use Panopticlick
Go to the Panopticlick site and hit the giant orange button “Test MeWait for the analysis to complete. Note that you will experience different levels of tracking depending on your list of add-ons and extensions. My browser has several extensions that block almost all trackers, as you can see in the results below.
Note that your browser may refresh several times while this test is running. Don’t panic just wait for it to finish.
Am I Unique?
Am I Unique? is a tracker analyzer with a focus on unique fingerprints that your browser broadcasts. Browsers are relatively unique and are often used to identify you online.
Am I Unique takes your system’s fingerprint and adds it to its own database, adding a four-month cookie to your system in the process. You can then return to the site in a few weeks and check for changes to your browser fingerprint and whether you are becoming more or less unique.
How to Use Am I Unique?
Go to the Am I Unique site and press the button View My Browser Fingerprint. Wait for the analysis to complete, then check the results.
If you want to periodically analyze the evolution of your fingerprint, go to the “My timeline” tab in the left menu column. Download the add-on for your browser (there is support for Chrome and Firefox) and check for changes periodically.
Disconnect features on many tracker block lists and for good reason. The browser extension blocks more than 2,000 individual trackers from following you on the internet. Not only that, but by blocking so many trackers, websites actually load faster up 27 percent faster, according to Disconnect.
However, the best Disconnect feature is the option to allow some trackers and not others. If you are a savvy internet user, you whitelist sites that provide you with great content for free.
How to Use Disconnect
Using Disconnect is very easy. First, go to the Disconnect site and press the “Get DisconnectDisconnect is currently available for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera (download informasi below). Once you’ve installed Disconnect, go to the website, and open the extension. The drop-down panel shows you the entire range of trackers currently logging sessions. your browser.
Unlike Panopticlick and Am I Unique, Disconnect lets you visualize trackers too. Again, this depends on your other browser settings, but you will see some trackers informasi directly to the site. Some may be harmless or related to your job or business, so be careful what you turn off. Disconnect is just one of the many privacy and tracking tools available for Google Chrome.
Download: Disconnect for Chrome | Firefox | Safaris | Opera
Lightbeam is a visual aid for online trackers, showing a web of trackers that is very tangled between each site you visit. Lightbeam was previously a Firefox-only privacy tool. Unfortunately, the Firefox version is no longer available, but an open source version is now available for Chrome.
How to Use Lightbeam
Go to the Lightbeam extension page and add it to your browser. Open the extension by clicking on the icon lightbeam in the top right corner of the browser.
You arrive at a blank graph. You can quickly fill out the chart by heading to some of your favorite sites. Each site will populate the graph with its associated tracker. As you visit more sites, the links between them grow, quickly creating a spaghetti monster with tangled lines. It perfectly describes which trackers are following you.
The only downside is that the new version doesn’t have the website logo of the old version. You can hover over each circle to get to that site, but the website’s favorites icon makes it easy to see which sites are tracking you.
You can use Trackography to check:
- Which company is tracking you.
- Countries that host the tracking company’s servers.
- The country hosting the server of the website you are viewing.
- Countries that host the network infrastructure needed to access the media servers and tracking companies.
- More information about how tracking companies handle your data relates to their privacy policies.
Overall, Trackography is a great visual resource if you want to better understand the flow of tracking data around the world, and where you fit into it.
How to Use Trackography
Visit the Trackography site. Select your host country. Next, select the media website you want to connect to. Connection lines will immediately spread out from your host country, depicting the paths your data is taking, as well as some of the locations you didn’t expect your data to take.
Some great tools to stop trackers from following you on the internet (as well as clean up your online presence):
- uBlock Origin: Block trackers, malicious ad servers, malware and more.
- HTTPS Everywhere: Enable HTTPS to protect your data in transit.
- NoScript: Block background scripts.
- Privacy Badgers: Block unwanted trackers and cookies.
- PixelBlocks: Block tracking pixels in Gmail.
- Google Activity Controls: control what Google remembers about your searches.
- deseat.me: Delete your old online account with one click.
- Tor Browser: Use script blocking and onion routing protocols to protect your privacy.
- DuckDuckGo: Search the internet without the tracker taking notes.
This list is not exhaustive, but will point you in the right direction to avoid trackers if possible.