Protect Your Online Privacy and Speed up Browsing with Privacy Badger


Advertisers and others are constantly trying to track where we go and what we do on the Internet. There are a variety of browser add-ons which attempt to monitor and/or block these tracking efforts and Gizmo’s often reviews these defensive browser additions.  A fairly new one that is intriguing is called Privacy Badger and I decided to take a look at it.

Privacy Badger is from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)  and takes a somewhat different approach to guarding privacy. It is not an automatic ad or cookie blocker but monitors and adapts to third-party tracking activity as you go to different sites around the web. If a particular third party is judged to engage in activity that is invasive of privacy, then their ads and cookies are blocked. Here is the EFF description:

“Privacy Badger is a browser add-on that stops advertisers and other third-party trackers from secretly tracking where you go and what pages you look at on the web.  If an advertiser seems to be tracking you across multiple websites without your permission, Privacy Badger automatically blocks that advertiser from loading any more content in your browser.  To the advertiser, it's like you suddenly disappeared.”

Privacy Badger is currently available as an add-on for the Chrome and Firefox browsers and can be installed from this page. There is also a FAQ with detailed information about the add-on. It is currently in beta and may have some bugs but it seems to work quite well.

The interesting feature of Privacy Badger is that it is heuristic and learns from your personal way of browsing the web. At first, it will block less than other add-ons until it learns which third-party sites are trying to track you. As it detects tracking behavior when you go around the web, it will block more and more. Thus, it provides a personalized defense of your privacy without requiring you to configure such things as blacklists. It does come with a whitelist of such well-known sites as Google Maps. If you wish, you can also make manual settings for individual sites, as shown in the graphic below.

Privacy Badger settings

More information and some comparison with other add-ons like Ghostery  and Add Block Plus can be found in this article

Get your own favorite tip published! Know a neat tech tip or trick? Then why not have it published here and receive full credit? Click here to tell us your tip.

This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's, guides, and tutorials, including a site for learning about Windows and the Internet and another with Windows 7 tips.

Click here for more items like this. Better still, get Tech Tips delivered via your RSS feeder or alternatively, have the RSS feed sent as email direct to your in-box.

Please rate this article: 

Your rating: None
Average: 4.3 (12 votes)


Can or should this be used in conjunction with the other addons
ie. ABP, Ghostery,Grease Monkey, No script etc.
I also use Aviator occasionally which has many of the addons by default
would it be of value here as well?

Offhand, I don't know of conflicts with other add-ons but it is always possible. I have tried it on FF with Ghostery, ABP, and No Script all running without noticing any conflicts. On Chrome, I have it and ABP running together. On another subject, there are comments at Mozilla that say Privacy Badger breaks Reddit. I haven't personally looked into this. Privacy Badger is labeled "beta" so problems are always possible.

I use Adblock Plus and Adblock Super. Can this replace these ad blockers?

Privacy Badger is different. Which of the various add-ons to use is a matter of personal choice. Personally, I still use Adblock Plus.

firefox is stopping the download.dropdown box appearing to this because its still in beta

It works for me.

I read the privacy statement on Google Chrome Store. I've become paranoid of what capabilities extensions are allowed to do. I feel like I'm inviting the trojan horse.

1) Read and change all your data on the websites you visit.
2) Change your privacy-related settings.

Thanks for this useful add-on!

It "seems to work quite well" with Chrome Canary, too. Under the Extensions, it has an extra approval box to "Allow access to file URLs". Could it be doing the very thing it is supposed to be blocking??

How does this compare to Comodo Dragon? They say it is a "Fast and versatile Internet Browser based on Chromium, with highest level of security"