Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs took the TED stage Tuesday morning to introduce Collusion, a Firefox browser add-on that lets you track who’s tracking you across the web for behavioral targeting purposes.
Describing the medium as “an area of consumer protection that’s almost entirely naked,” Kovacs argued that the price we’re now being asked to pay for connectivenss is our privacy, and in turn, it’s “now time for us to watch the watchers.”
Collusion looks to offer more transparency to users by creating a visualization of how your data is being spread to different companies as you navigate the web. Each time it detects data being sent to a behavioral tracker, it creates a red (advertisers), grey (websites) or blue dot on the visualization and shows the links between the sites you visit and the trackers they work with.
3:00 pm on Feb 29, 2012 (gmt 0)
Brilliant . . assuming it actually works . . and doesn't scare the bejesus out of users . . and it doesn't cause them to flee Firefox thinking that Firefox is the culprit.
3:10 pm on Feb 29, 2012 (gmt 0)
@Webwork *If* its results are accurate, it's scary. It's cumulative. I went to Techmeme and opened the same stories I'd looked at yesterday, then, after each one, saw the results on Collusion. The resulting chart [web] of connections that accumulated was...er...alarming. (I included webmasterworld/typekit, of course.)
4:16 pm on Feb 29, 2012 (gmt 0)
this is pretty cool
I already have blocked a couple of the big guys in my Windows host file.
For example this entry blocks all ads and tracking when using MSN messanger: 0.0.0.0 rad.msn.com api.bing.com
This blocks tracking from a popular track site: 0.0.0.0 *.scorecardresearch.com
I used to browse with Fiddler on to see what extra hits my browser was making in the background and I snipped a couple places using that, but this is going to be a big help in finding some more.
6:13 pm on Feb 29, 2012 (gmt 0)
For example this entry blocks all ads and tracking when using MSN messanger
That doesn't work anymore, microsoft still uses IE as default but if it can't get through that way it now tries other defaults including FF. You'll notice you still get update notices even with it disabled as you suggested.
[edited by: Sgt_Kickaxe at 6:37 pm (utc) on Feb 29, 2012]
6:36 pm on Feb 29, 2012 (gmt 0)
now we are at it, my add-ons page keeps loading, so I can not see my plugins, any clue.
6:37 pm on Feb 29, 2012 (gmt 0)
Sgt, maybe I misunderstand you but the windows host file applies to all http requests. FF or IE, or any installed software it doesn't matter, if my computer requests something from rad.msn.com it will resolve to the ip of 0.0.0.0
I do agree with your tone though Sgt, there is less and less we can do about it, and more and more we are surrounded by devices that can reveal things about us we may not want people to know.
I saw a scary TED talk the other day by security expert Avi Rubin. He demonstrated people wirelessly attacking people's heart defibrillator devices. They could change the patient name and diagnosis, they could even turn the device off.
The other thing they were able to do was remotely attack newer vehicles. They could activate the ON-STAR mic and listen in. They could apply the breaks at will, they could trick the speedometer to tell you the car was going 50 when it was going 70.... all sorts of stuff.
7:12 pm on Mar 2, 2012 (gmt 0)
If you are using HostsMan, Noscript, and Adblock Plus, then you really don't need to worry about trackers.