See How Every Website Is Tracking You with This Tool

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Blacklight

Instantly reveal the trackers on any website using this free website privacy inspector.

Blacklight lets you scan any website to see how your data is being collected by entering the address of a website. It scans the site and reveals what tracking technologies are being used.

Personal data collection is a big business. Most websites use some sort of tracking technology, whether it’s cookies or something more extensive, such as ad trackers, key logging, session recording, canvas fingerprinting, or tracking by Facebook and Google.  

These are the types of tracking that Blacklight identifies and displays after you use their privacy inspection tool. What do these trackers actually do? What data do they track and collect? Read on to see how you’re being tracked. If you’re not familiar with key logging and session recording, you may want to have a look.

Third-party cookies
Third-party cookies are a small piece of data that tracking companies store in your web browser when you visit a website. This bit of text—usually a unique number or string of characters—identifies you when you visit other websites that contain tracking code from the same company. Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Brave, and Safari all block third-party tracking cookies by default, and Chrome has announced that it will phase them out.

Ad trackers
Ad trackers are technologies that identify and collect information about users. These technologies usually (but not always) appear with some level of consent from the website owners. They are used to collect website user analytics, for ad-targeting, and by data brokers and other information collectors to build user profiles. They usually take the form of Javascript scripts or web beacons.

Key logging
Key logging is when a first or third party monitors the text that you type into a webpage before you hit the submit button. This technique has been used for a variety of purposes, including identifying anonymous web users by matching them to postal addresses and real names.

Session recording
Session recording is technology that allows a third party to monitor and record all of a user’s behavior on a webpage - including mouse movements, clicks, scrolling down the page, and anything you type into a form even if you don’t click submit.

Canvas fingerprinting
Canvas fingerprinting is a type of fingerprinting that identifies users by drawing shapes and text on a user’s webpage and noting the minor differences in the way they are rendered.

Facebook tracking
The Facebook pixel is a piece of code Facebook created that allows other websites to target their visitors later with ads on Facebook. Common actions that can be tracked by pixel include viewing a page or specific content, adding payment information, or making a purchase.

Google Analytics “Remarketing Audiences”
While most of the functionality of this service is to provide developers and website owners with information on how their audience is engaging with their website, the tool also allows the website to make custom audience lists based on user behavior and then target ads to those visitors across the internet using Google Ads and Display & Video 360.

Most of these tracking activities are blocked by browser ad blocking and tracking add-ons. Disconnect, Privacy Badger, and Ghostery are well known extensions that stop most tracking.

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Comments

i see that "light beam" add-on on firefox or chrome could do the same and a bit more sophisticated somehow.

That's a good option if you don't mind installing another add-on. If you're on a different platform or browser and add-ons aren't supported, it's good to be able to access the information from a website.

Try checking a few competitors. I checked lowes.com and homedepot.com and was surprised by the very different results.

Interesting results. :
TechSupportAlert 13 Trackers , 21 Third Party Cookies
Weather.com 17 Trackers, 29 Third party Cookies ( After I entered my Zip Code)

This looks like a very useful thing to have in the 'toolbox'. Much appreciated Rhiannon, thank you.

You're so welcome, I'm glad you think it will be useful.

Has anyone tried Blacklight on 'www.techsupportalert.com/' ? ;-)

[Might be nice if someone were to build a 'app' into which one could type the URL and then it would send it to blacklight to check it out and then show you the results on your own screen. And as well if you still wanted to use the site you could check a box and the URL would be typed into your browser so that off you could go to look at that site.]

Our site was the first one I checked. We have ad trackers and third party cookies that are consistent with our use of Google AdSense. Google AdSense is our only form of advertsing, it pays the site expenses.

Oddly enough in my checking some sites you would think have a bunch of trackers have one or two.