Online Data Tracking Add-on Released

Friday, October 25, 2013 @ 06:10 PM gHale

Mozilla wants show users which first and third parties are tracking them as they surf the web with a new version of its Collusion add-on.

In addition to several improvements, the Collusion add-on version (1.0.2) also has a new name — Lightbeam – which describes the concept better, said Mozilla’s head of global privacy and public policy, Alex Fowler.

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Collusion first launched in February 2012 but has not received much visibility with users.

Mozilla feels with all the Edward Snowden revelations about NSA spying and the collaboration with Internet companies have raised users’ awareness of their Internet activity being followed by a number of parties, and is hoping they will find Lightbeam a welcome addition to their Firefox browser.

The information collected by every single Lightbeam add-on in use can end up shared — if the user decides to — with the Lightbeam database, and this will help create a more accurate and bigger picture of what connections end up made each time users visit a website. Those users who chose to share this data can rest assured their IP addresses will not end up logged, and they will anonymously aggregate the information they share.

As Mozilla said, some of these connections are beneficial to users, but most of them might not be. In any case, most users are unaware these connections even go on, and that it something that Mozilla intends to change.

Mozilla has made available all of the add-on’s code on GitHub, and has invited coders to hack it, expand it, and improve it.

“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,” said Mozilla’s executive director Mark Surman.

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