Stop snooping online trackers with the Privacy Badger

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a nonprofit organization defending civil liberties in the digital world and not the political party of Julius Malema, developed a Chrome and Firefox plug-in that detects and blocks adverts that track your online movements.

Privacy Badger, as the add-on is known, was first released in an alpha phase a couple of months ago. From today you’ll be able to grab the public beta, and more than 150 000 users have already installed it. Some of the added features in the new version of the plug-in include one where it automatically limits the tracking function of social media widgets, like the Facebook “Like” button, replacing them with a stand-in version that allows you to “like” something but prevents the social media tool from tracking your reading habits.

“Widgets that say ‘Like this page on Facebook’ or ‘Tweet this’ often allow those companies to see what webpages you are visiting, even if you never click the widget’s button,” said EFF Technology Projects Director Peter Eckersley in a statement.

“The Privacy Badger alpha would detect that, and block those widgets outright. But now Privacy Badger’s beta version has gotten smarter: it can block the tracking while still giving you the option to see and click on those buttons if you so choose.”

The EFF decided to create the extension to “to fight intrusive and objectionable practices in the online advertising industry.”

It explains that by simply visiting a website with certain kinds of images, scripts and/or advertising, it can be a gateway for third-party trackers that collect data on which pages your visit, and which one you visited before and after landing on the original page.

“If Privacy Badger spots a tracker following you without your permission, it will either block all content from that tracker or screen out the tracking cookies.”

The free beta plug-in can be downloaded here.

[Image – CC by 2.0/Ian Usher]

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