Ad trackers follow you everywhere on the Internet, but this can be changed.
Almost all the sites you visit track your activities to try and tie your browsing history to your interests and thus show you targeted ads. For example, you want to buy a new table, and a minute later you already see an advertisement for a furniture site that you visited. And she follows you everywhere.
If you want to get an idea of how your online activities are being tracked, take a moment to read (or disable) your cookie options. They are updated every time you visit a new site. These cookies will tell you what technologies each website uses to track the activities of its users and the information they collect.
As the Do Not Track option becomes more and more useless, web browsers are using their privacy controls. Apple’s Safari browser has beefed up its anti-tracking technology, and Firefox has been blocking trackers by default since 2018.
In the meantime, the best way to stop tracking is to switch to a privacy-focused web browser. For some people, this step may seem too drastic or impractical. Apart from this, there is another way to counter online tracking: add specific blocking technology to your current browser. Browser extensions like these are the first step in enhancing your online privacy.
Privacy Badger is one of the best options to block online tracking in your current browser. It was created by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit digital rights group that has been fighting for online privacy since 1990. The extension is available absolutely free.
Privacy Badger monitors all web pages you visit, including plugins and advertisements placed on them by external companies. If the extension sees that ads and banners appear on multiple sites that you visit, then it prevents the browser from loading this content. The organization says it doesn’t keep lists of ads that are blocked, but it does record trackers as you browse the web. Thus, the extension works more efficiently.
DuckDuckGo is known for its anonymous search engine that does not collect user data. However, in recent years, the firm has been moving more and more into the field of privacy controls for the entire Internet (including the introduction of its own mobile browser). DuckDuckGo also includes a Chrome extension.
This New York firm, which has developed five different tools, is owned by the same company as Cliqz. Cliqz is a secure browser with a private search engine. However, the project was closed earlier this year due to Covid-19. It is now possible to download the Ghostery extension .
This browser extension blocks trackers and ads and allows you to create a list of trusted and questionable sites. The base Ghostery extension is free, but there is also a subscription that costs $49 per month. It provides a detailed breakdown of all trackers into groups and is able to analyze them. Ghostery is available for Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Opera.
Unlike other tools, Adblock Plus is primarily considered an ad blocking tool. Other extensions presented in this article do not always block ads by default. They aim to be privacy tools that can block the most intrusive types of ads. Using an ad blocker comes with a different set of ethical considerations; it will block a much wider range of elements on a web page, and this may include ads that don’t target people online.
Adblock Plus contains a list of acceptable ads, although the user is able to disable all banners and ads that annoy him. Adblock Plus blocks third-party trackers and allows you to disable social sharing buttons that send information about the user to the owner of the resource. Adblock Plus is available for Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, Opera and Yandex.
Adding a privacy-enabled extension to your browser will definitely enhance your online privacy. But that’s not all you can do.
Switching to a privacy-focused browser could be the next logical step. Extensions, at least for Chrome, are limited to computers and laptops only. They will not be able to help you stop tracking your activities on your mobile device. To do this, select a different browser for the phone.
For additional protection, you can also start using a VPN, which will help mask your activity.