Author Topic: Mozilla's Lightbeam tool will expose who is looking over your shoulder on the web  (Read 1132 times)

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Offline happyg

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Adam Sherwin

Just who is looking over your shoulder when you browse the Internet? Tomorrow, web users will be given a new tool to shine a light on the commercial organisations which track your every movement online.

Lightbeam, a download produced by Mozilla, the US free software community behind the popular Firefox browser, claims to be a “watershed” moment in the battle for web transparency.

Everyone who browses the Internet leaves a digital trail used by advertisers to discover what your interests are.

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.

Mozilla has come under “tremendous pressure” from trade bodies over its mission to bring transparency to the web, said Alex Fowler, the company’s Privacy Officer.

The software company said it was responding to increased privacy concerns following the revelation that the US National Security Agency (NSA) had tapped directly into the servers of Internet firms including Facebook, to track online communication in a surveillance programme.


Firefox released a security upgrade after it emerged that the NSA was exploiting vulnerabilities in the browser to gain access to computers using Tor, a sophisticated anonymity tool.

But Mozilla insisted that Lightbeam itself will not compromise the privacy of users who agree to upload and share data. Lightbeam will not log IP addresses, the information will be aggregated anonymously and the software can be uninstalled, Mr Surman promised.

Lightbeam initially will only be available for desktop browsers. Apple has reportedly rejected from its store apps by developers which incorporate “cookie tracking” technology. “The whole mobile environment is closed,” Mr Surman said. “You have to go through Google and Apple for apps.”

Mozilla, which is developing its own tablet, Mr Surman disclosed, is hosting its UK Mozfest this weekend, a brain-storming “hack”, attended by 1,400 people.

Mr Surman said: “Our focus in on building a web based on openness and transparency. Our dream is a world where people know more about how the web works and take control of their lives online. We need a posse of people to get involved and make that happen.”

He accepted that some cookies can help consumers navigate sites by providing content relevant to the user but said it was important that tracking happens with a person’s knowledge.

Lightbeam is released ahead of “Stop Watching Us,” a “rally against mass surveillance” in response to the Snowden revelations, which will be held in Washington D.C. on Saturday.

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/mozillas-lightbeam-tool-will-expose-who-is-looking-over-your-shoulder-on-the-web-8902269.html#

Offline andy58-in-nh

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Several pieces of advice for those of you using Firefox (a terrific browser; current version = 24.0).

1. Go to the Tools menu, drop-down and select "Options". Under "Options", review the first menu item - Tracking. Make sure that you have selected the radio button entitled: "Tell sites that I do not want to be tracked".  Then, under "History", and "Accept Third Party Cookies:", select "Never", and also under "Keep Until": choose "Until I close Firefox". Then click "OK" at the bottom of the window. 
 
2. Go to the Mozilla Add-on site and download the extension DoNotTrackMe (Abine software). It is free and I have found it extremely effective. The extension works passively, and will add an icon to the Navigation toolbar. By clicking on the icon, you can see which sites were attempting to track you on the page you are viewing. The results can be quite eye-opening, especially for popular commercial websites.

3. You may also wish to try the NoScript add-on. It will disallow any remote scripts from running unless you specifically "white list" them or else temporarily allow them. I've been using it for several years, and again the results might amaze and disturb you. Some sites try to load as many as 30 or more scripts in the background, including all kinds of tracking cookies.
Liberalism isn't really about making the world a better place. It's about reassuring the elites that they are good people for wanting to rule over it.

Offline AbaraXas

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I installed it this morning. Very interesting. This site is very clean in terms of tracking, just a photobucket and papal (probably from the images and donate button). Most sites have half dozen ore more.  If you want a laugh, run it when opening Facebook. If you use the graph, it looks like a galaxy.
I know you were afraid. Who wouldn't be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now high chancellor, Adam Sutler. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent.

Liberal_Spy

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http://download.cnet.com/Spybot-Search-Destroy/3000-8022_4-10122137.html

Free and effective anti-spyware if anybody is interested.

Offline andy58-in-nh

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http://download.cnet.com/Spybot-Search-Destroy/3000-8022_4-10122137.html

Free and effective anti-spyware if anybody is interested.


I've used Spybot in the past and liked it. However, I found it was incompatible with Kaspersky anti-virus, so I switched to Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, which is powerful, effective, and easy to use.
Liberalism isn't really about making the world a better place. It's about reassuring the elites that they are good people for wanting to rule over it.

Offline Rapunzel

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Several pieces of advice for those of you using Firefox (a terrific browser; current version = 24.0).

1. Go to the Tools menu, drop-down and select "Options". Under "Options", review the first menu item - Tracking. Make sure that you have selected the radio button entitled: "Tell sites that I do not want to be tracked".  Then, under "History", and "Accept Third Party Cookies:", select "Never", and also under "Keep Until": choose "Until I close Firefox". Then click "OK" at the bottom of the window. 
 
2. Go to the Mozilla Add-on site and download the extension DoNotTrackMe (Abine software). It is free and I have found it extremely effective. The extension works passively, and will add an icon to the Navigation toolbar. By clicking on the icon, you can see which sites were attempting to track you on the page you are viewing. The results can be quite eye-opening, especially for popular commercial websites.

3. You may also wish to try the NoScript add-on. It will disallow any remote scripts from running unless you specifically "white list" them or else temporarily allow them. I've been using it for several years, and again the results might amaze and disturb you. Some sites try to load as many as 30 or more scripts in the background, including all kinds of tracking cookies.

I use all of these, I'm a huge fan of FF, I went into IE for the first time in ages a month ago and it did something that cost me a full day of cleaning my computer back up.. I HATE IE...
“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.” G Washington July 2, 1776

Offline Oceander

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I installed it this morning. Very interesting. This site is very clean in terms of tracking, just a photobucket and papal (probably from the images and donate button). Most sites have half dozen ore more.  If you want a laugh, run it when opening Facebook. If you use the graph, it looks like a galaxy.

We could work on "fixing" that for you!!

Offline Rapunzel

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We could work on "fixing" that for you!!

They had a great segment about this on Real News this afternoon  - they had a big screen of the biggest sites and all the links and links and more links... everyone was fascinated by it... Great segment.
“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.” G Washington July 2, 1776

Offline Oceander

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Several pieces of advice for those of you using Firefox (a terrific browser; current version = 24.0).

1. Go to the Tools menu, drop-down and select "Options". Under "Options", review the first menu item - Tracking. Make sure that you have selected the radio button entitled: "Tell sites that I do not want to be tracked".  Then, under "History", and "Accept Third Party Cookies:", select "Never", and also under "Keep Until": choose "Until I close Firefox". Then click "OK" at the bottom of the window. 
 
2. Go to the Mozilla Add-on site and download the extension DoNotTrackMe (Abine software). It is free and I have found it extremely effective. The extension works passively, and will add an icon to the Navigation toolbar. By clicking on the icon, you can see which sites were attempting to track you on the page you are viewing. The results can be quite eye-opening, especially for popular commercial websites.

3. You may also wish to try the NoScript add-on. It will disallow any remote scripts from running unless you specifically "white list" them or else temporarily allow them. I've been using it for several years, and again the results might amaze and disturb you. Some sites try to load as many as 30 or more scripts in the background, including all kinds of tracking cookies.

DoNotTrackMe is interesting, particularly the feature that lets you see what tracking devices a particular site has.  The Obastardcare website had 4 trackers when I checked on that one.  Talk about respecting your privacy.

Offline Oceander

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I installed it this morning. Very interesting. This site is very clean in terms of tracking, just a photobucket and papal (probably from the images and donate button). Most sites have half dozen ore more.  If you want a laugh, run it when opening Facebook. If you use the graph, it looks like a galaxy.

I didn't find anything on GBR with DoNotTrackMe.

Offline alicewonders

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Several pieces of advice for those of you using Firefox (a terrific browser; current version = 24.0).

Does this hamper your browsing experience any?  Does it slow the site down or cause you not to be able to do certain things?  I've tried things like this before that just slow you down so much.  I saw the segment on Real News (The Blaze) about this and it was very revealing, how many sites are tracking us. 
Don't tread on me.   8888madkitty

We told you Trump would win - bigly!

Offline Oceander

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Does this hamper your browsing experience any?  Does it slow the site down or cause you not to be able to do certain things?  I've tried things like this before that just slow you down so much.  I saw the segment on Real News (The Blaze) about this and it was very revealing, how many sites are tracking us. 

I think it mainly blocks so-called "third party" cookies - cookies that aren't issued to you by the site you're visiting.  These are typically cookies from third-party advertisers who want to know who you are so they can target ads at you based on what they know about you.  I don't think it blocks cookies from the site you're actually visiting, so it shouldn't really slow down your browsing a particular site.

Offline alicewonders

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I think it mainly blocks so-called "third party" cookies - cookies that aren't issued to you by the site you're visiting.  These are typically cookies from third-party advertisers who want to know who you are so they can target ads at you based on what they know about you.  I don't think it blocks cookies from the site you're actually visiting, so it shouldn't really slow down your browsing a particular site.

Thanks! 
Don't tread on me.   8888madkitty

We told you Trump would win - bigly!

Offline Oceander

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Even the IRS website - irs.gov - tracks you (then again, that doesn't suprise me).  I wonder if the NSA has a website?


The White House website tracks, and it uses one of the bottom feeder trackers as well:  AddThis.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2013, 11:03:49 PM by Oceander »


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