First I read about this firefox addon called Collusion at Gzimodo. This addon enables us to watch, how we are getting tracked using our own browser. Internet privacy is a widely talked about issue, however we have a little tangible understanding on how it works or how it effects us individually or as a society.
We always wonder why companies like facebook are valued so much. How Google makes so much money? The bottom line is tracking our behavior and sharing with whoever is willing to pay for whatever reason is a big business.
The good thing (!!) is we haven’t seen news on mainstream media which says all our personal information is being shared for evil purpose. What we all know is our information is valued in a way allowing us to use most of our popular internet activity for free.
I like this quote
“If you are not paying for something, you are not the customer, you are the product being sold. “
What are they tracking: Cookies that record links you click on, what content you view, searches you make on a site, and other potential information.
These sites share information with each other using “your browser”.
How to find out more: Kovacs unveiled a new Firefox add-on named Collusion. This addon enables you to what being watched. You get a visual representation of how they share your information using your browser with other sites. This is how it looks like.
This is what you get after 30 min of regular information gathering web browsing. They are just so ‘beautifully’ connected with each other. Am I surprised? Yes and no at the same time. I think I knew it, but it feels different when you look at it. Makes me wonder where we are heading to with this much sharing of individual information all across the world. They surely learn more about you then you can possibly learn in your entire life. The significance of such knowledge in our life? Mostly Unknown. The significance of such information on internet being traded around is $39 billion and it will be the biggest business of all time.
You can download and install Collusion from https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/collusion/?src=api
After you have installed you may need to go to Tools>Add-ons>Extensions and then click “Enable” next to Collusion. After that you should see a small red circle on the bottom right of your browser (on your addon tool bar). In case you don’t see your addon bar, press “ctrl+/” or go to Options>addon-bar and enable it.
You are ready to go. Start browsing the web as you normally would. To see the tracking graph build up, click on the Collusion icon in the bottom right of your screen. This will open a separate browser tab with your Collusion graph like the picture above.
Collusion for Chrome is out
use the link for installation
check this short video
Some links I cam across while finding more on online privacy readers might find useful.
- Graph generation: (probably for programmers and designers) http://mbostock.github.com/d3/ex/force.html
- more information on the tool Collusion http://www.toolness.com/wp/2011/07/collusion/
- How to install Collusion http://news.techworld.com/applications/3341226/firefox-addon-collusion-shows-who-is-tracking-you-online/
- More on online Privacy http://privacychoice.org/