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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Mozilla Lightbeam Addon Shows Who's Watching You Online :

Mozilla, makers of the Firefox browser, has released an add-on called Lightbeam for Firefox which presents a visualization of your browsing history and analyzes which applications are tracking or monitoring you online and how they are connected. The company had previously released an experimental add-on for Firefox called Collusion in a bid to better understand how first-party website tools shape a visitor’s experience and how their data is tracked.

Users who activate Lightbeam will be able to see a real-time visualisation of every site they visit and every third-party that is active on those sites, including commercial organisations which might potentially be sharing your data.Mozilla wants users who install the Lightbeam add-on to Firefox, to crowd-source their data, to produce the first “big picture” view of web tracking, revealing which third-parties are most active.

Lightbeam promises a “Wizard of Oz” moment for the web, “where users collectively provide a way to pull back the curtains to see its inner workings,” Mozilla claimed.  Mark Surman, Mozilla’s executive director, said: “It’s a stake in the ground in terms of letting people know the ways they are being tracked. At Mozilla, we believe everyone should be in control of their user data and privacy and we want people to make informed decisions about their Web experience.”

Mozilla already offers users the ability to disable “cookies” - small files that download from websites onto a computer, allowing advertisers to target users based on their online activity – an option taken up by 18 per cent of UK Firefox users.

Lightbeam will reveal the source of the third-party adverts, scripts and images stored on a web page which are linked to servers in other domains. An expanding graph visualises the interactions between the sites a user intentionally visits and the third parties which may not be welcome.

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