This is the fifth in a series of posts that will break down Internet tracking, and let you know what it’s all about, why companies do it, and what you can do to prevent it.
Tracker Mapper for Freedome is now available for OS X and Windows PC users! Tracker Mapper is a visualization tool that creates a real-time map of the Internet trackers and malicious websites that Freedome blocks as people browse the web.
But tracking isn’t just an inconvenience – it’s an important part of how online surveillance works. Tracking lets companies and organizations collect data about what people do online. Not just what websites you visit, but what you spend your time looking at, what you click and how you navigate from page to page, and even where you are and the kinds of devices you use. Security expert Bruce Schneier has been quoted as saying “surveillance is the business model of the Internet”.
And it’s a business model that many companies are adopting. One research firm found that the 100 most widely used websites have over 1,300 firms using them to track visitors. And the same article states that tracking techniques are able to provide up to 100 data points about individual users – that means companies can learn up to 100 different things about you, which is information they can use to sell ads.
This is how companies can offer content and services for “free” – you pay for it with data. Data about who people are, what they like, and what they look for while they browse the web. Companies crunch this data to create profiles about who’s looking at what online, which they can use to pigeonhole people into different categories, letting them target ads and services with greater precision.
So surveillance is the basically an antagonist for online privacy, and it’s something most people would rather live without. As pointed out in an earlier blog post in this series, 92% of Americans and Britons worry (at least sometimes) about their online privacy, with both nationalities citing the behavior of companies as the most common reason for their concerns.
Tracker Mapper is a tool that can help people take back control of how their data is used by pulling back the curtain that hides online tracking. It lets people see how they expose themselves to online trackers when they browse the web. It shows Freedome users the names of the trackers and what websites those trackers are used on, letting people find out how they expose their data to companies while they browse the web.
It’s an easy way for people to monitor the tracking that goes on while they browse the web. Here’s a quick video showing you how to use Tracker Mapper, so check it out today so you can start to take back control of your online privacy.
F-Secure invites our fellows to share their expertise and insights. For more posts by Fennel, click…
April 18, 2018