Skip to comments.Collusion: See who’s tracking you – in real-time
Posted on 07/18/2013 1:00:00 PM PDT by ShadowAce
At a time when your ISP is tracking your online activities, sites you visit are doing the same (even the one you do not visit are able to track you), Google is not to be left out in the game, and the NSA is tracking everybody else, its easy to be depressed.
What exactly dont these guys know about you? Or what cant they know about you? For most people, the shocking answer, is not much. You see, privacy died about 10 years ago. There are things you can do to regain some semblance of privacy in your life, but with the wide variety of ways used to track you, only the most paranoid and tech-savvy has the skills to put up a good fight.
But while most of us cant do very much, we can at least have fun tracking whos tracking us, as we surf the Internet. If you use Firefox Web browser, an extension called Collusion can help you see which websites are tracking you. Install it like you would install any other Firefox add-on.
Once installed, you can access the graph by clicking on its icon in the bottom-right of the browser window, or from the menu Tools -> Collusion Graph. This image shows all the websites that are able to track me when I visited the nytimes.com. Thats just one site I visited and 14 other sites can track me.
Some sites do not cause as many third party tracking as the nytimes.com. For example, visiting nsa.gov only added one more third-party to the mix. Duckduckgo.com, my preferred search engine, does not add any extra spy, other than its own cookie. I dont even want to tell you what happened when I visited my own site. Ridiculous!
Just as I was about to press the publish button, I decided to see what happens if I disallow any type of cookies first-party or third-party, from being set on my browser. There was no difference. I dont know how they do it, but Collusions graph still read the same, as when cookies were allowed.
And how do you know that the Collusion extension itself isn’t doing something malicious regarding your IP address, etc., behind the scenes?
I don’t—for certain. But extensions are developed and reviewed by separate (groups of) people. I’d think it’s pretty safe.
If you have a website, you may also get real time information on who visits your site too.
For instance, my website had visits from the following interesting places today...
*Navy Network Information Center
*Lockheed Martin Corporation (out of Denver)
*Hughes Network Systems
*Lockheed Martin Corporation (out of Connecticut)
And that does not count the regular bounces I get from Google and Facebook bots.
OK, I went ahead and clicked on Collusion. Now I get the Collusion screen, but it’s just black with the columns present on the left. No “ferris wheel” looking thing. What is going on here?
Keep it open and continue using the browser. It’ll update as you visit more sites.
Maybe this works:
Aha. NOW it has the Ferris Wheel. It shows (gasp!) that I’ve been on the Free Republic website. Heavens, what is the world coming to? Thank you.
Sad. Not available for my 16.0 version under Linux.
Long ago, when the Net was new, I started going to really ridiculous sites to throw off anyone trying to categorize me. For example, I’d click on a Mayan astrology site, then cement mixers, then strange Barbie Doll names, then sewer pipe equipment, then recipes for woodchuck, then Norwegian politics, then the AKC, then Prada....so how do advertisers and the NSA categorize me?
Yeah, it's Wiki, but there's some info about the guy here.
Here's their Privacy Page.
You can also just use startpage which masks your internet activity. Apparently Startpage hides your ISP. For instance the NSA could see that somebody on Startpabe was visiting FR but not who that person is. Startpage is free.
as someone trying to mask their browsing, thereby raising your investigative interest score.
I clicked on the link, guess what!?!
“Not available for Firefox 18.0”
Good about raising my investigative interest score. They should waste hours and days checking me out.
Mattel may join in the hunt. The Net is so sanctimonious now, used to be much more fun before commercial interests started scrubbing. And suing.
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