How Many Breadcrumbs Do You Leave While Travelling The Internet?

(Image via funny-potato.com)

Do you know who tracks you while you are on the internet? How private do you think the internet is? It ends up we are like Hansel and Gretel, leaving breadcrumbs all over the web.

If you use Firefox as your browser or watch TED videos, you may have seen this video about all the little breadcrumbs we leave when we wander the digital woods. In his presentation, Gary Kovacs, who is the CEO of Mozilla Corporation, talks about behavioral tracking and privacy.

 “In fact, there’s an entire industry formed around following us through the digital woods and compiling a profile on each of us. And when all of that data is held, they can do almost whatever they want with it. This is an area today that has very few regulations and even fewer rules. Except for some of the recent announcements here in the United States and in Europe, it’s an area of consumer protection that’s almost entirely naked.”
 

I downloaded Collusion and here’s two pictures of how I’ve been watched while on the internet. The first one shows the extra tracking done when all I did was check the weather. The centre dot is the weather site. The remaining 9 dots are now also tracking me. All I did was go to one site. The first couple of weeks after I installed Collusion, I would check how many extra dots there were from visiting the same site (The Weather Network) first thing in the morning. It varied. One day, I counted 14 additional dots.

This next image is after a couple of hours. I closed the sidebar and it still doesn’t show all the extra dots of sites that are tracking me.

If you are curious to see the trail you leave,  here’s the link for the Collusion add-on for Firefox.

Because we are always being watched.

“… You can download it, install it in Firefox, to see who is tracking you across the Web and following you through the digital woods. Going forward, all of our voices need to be heard. Because what we don’t know can actually hurt us. Because the memory of the Internet is forever. We are being watched. It’s now time for us to watch the watchers.”

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2 comments

  1. Wow — I knew we left a digital footprint but didn’t realize it was that wide! I’ve had the same hot mail address forever, and the amount of junk is amazing! It’s creeping into my yahoo account — this one is mostly money scams. So far, because I don’t leave it anywhere my gmails are pretty safe. But that’s just email.
    I wonder if that software would work with internet explorer 9? I used to use foxfire/monzilla, but ran into problems with my stupid operating system — the dreadful Windows Vista and the updated Firefox — issues with tool bars, favourites, getting frequently visited sites (like my blog or emails) to stick to the disappearing tool bar, etc.
    I use the weather channel too and have noticed the increase in ads and leave behind popups and suspected tracking was going on!
    Cookie crumbs are everywhere — thanks for sharing. I’d Ted more but with my recent decline in cognitive function, I’m overwhelmed too easily just reading a few blogs and about 1/3 to 1/4 my email.

    1. I have Yahoo and Gmail addresses, Gmail is fine but Yahoo – apparently I need viagra and cialis. And I need to gamble. Those are the three main spams I get.

      Collusion is an add-on for Firefox so for right now that’s the only browser it works for. Hopefully, they’ll change that.

      I have Vista on my laptop but don’t use it that much since I got the tablet. I also didn’t add much to the toolbar so can’t help you with that.

      But, you’re right, the crumbs are everywhere.

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