I don’t know about you, but there are days when I feel like every company in America — not to mention the federal government — is looking over my shoulder as I surf the web reading the dozens of articles and blog posts I read every day.
And yes, just like more and more Americans, I like to shop online. In fact, many of the products I like to buy for myself or others are only available online. Truth be told, I did most of my Christmas shopping online.
What I don’t like is having every move I make on the Internet being tracked.
Of course, as discussed in other advisories and the Patriot Privacy Kit eBook you received with your membership to the Self-Reliance Institute (formerly the Patriot Privacy and Security Society), there are a number of ways to browse the web anonymously and securely.
But, I also know from experience, that lots of folks — myself included — are not going to use every technique for every transaction or every time I’m just surfing the web.
I should, but I don’t. And I bet most of you don’t either.
So, let me share with you a free web service that allows you to learn about who is tracking you on the web and decide what you want to do about it.
The service is called Ghostery and a number of my friends and I have been using it. So far, for what it does, I’m pleased.
So, you ask, what does it do? Let me quote directly from Ghostery as, based on my experience, they explain the service accurately.
“Ghostery is a browser tool available for Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, Internet Explorer, as well as a standalone app available for iOS. It scans the page for trackers – scripts, pixels, and other elements – and notifies you of the companies whose code is present on the webpage you are visiting. Usually, these trackers aren’t visible, and they are often hard to find in the page source code. Ghostery allows you to learn more about these companies and their practices, and block the page elements from loading if the user chooses.”
As you can tell from the description of Ghostery, you can block the companies that are tracking you. As Ghostery explains, “When you choose to block a tracker, Ghostery either prevents the tracker from “phoning home” or prevents the tracker from ever being written to your browser. You can toggle control blocking on a tracker-by-tracker basis, on a per-site basis, and on a per-category basis in Ghostery’s options.”
However, there may be companies that you don’t want to block from tracking. In that case, you can “whitelist” that company. As Ghostery puts it, “When you whitelist a site, it allows tracking on just that site until you remove it from the whitelist in Ghostery’s options. Ghostery does not add or remove sites automatically to or from your whitelist.”
Did I mention that Ghostery is free? It is and I love free. It’s my favorite price!
[Quick disclaimer: I have not received any incentive of any kind — financial or non-financial — to recommend Ghostery or any other product or service I’ve mentioned in any advisory or newsletter. If I am ever asked to review a specific product or service that I end up suggesting to you, I will tell you. Bottom line: I only recommend what I’ve used or reviewed myself.]
Ghostery is a browser extension (an add-on tool for the web browser you use) and, as mentioned above, is currently available for “Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, Internet Explorer, as well as a standalone app available for iOS.” Also, there is now a standalone app available for Firefox for Android.
As I said, I’ve been pleased with Ghostery. If you decide to give it a try, let me know what you think. Also, if you’re using a different product or service that accomplishes the same thing, let me know what you’re using and how you like it. There’s a good chance I’ll give it a test spin if I haven’t already.
As always, you can email me at [email protected]
Be safe and secure,