Tracking the trackers

This Firefox add-on is a good idea, particularly if you don’t make use of NoScript or keep your cookies turned off.

Mozilla, the maker of Firefox, has unveiled a new add-on for the popular web browser that gives web users an instant view of which companies are ‘watching’ them as they browse.

The move comes the same week that Google pushed ahead with its controversial new privacy policy, built to provide even more data for Google’s $28 billion advertising business – despite concerns that the massive harvesting of private data might be illegal in many countries.

The Collusion add-on will allow users to ‘pull back the curtain’ on web advertising firms and other third parties that track people’s online movements, says Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs.

Google’s new anti-privacy policy is disappointing, as it really reduces the usefulness of Android. I don’t even turn on the data connection on my smartphone or use most of its features simply because I don’t want to share my entire life with Google.

It increasingly appears that the only way to deal with the data monsters is to flood them with crap. I’m thinking it might be useful to have an app or an add/on that will surf all the nastiest websites and all the most random shopping sites possible in the background and constantly stream that information to the data collectors. Sure, your real data will be there, but they’ll have to work a lot harder to make any useful sense of it.