These days being on the Internet means being tracked. Although you can take various measures to block trackers, it isn’t always clear who you have or haven’t blocked. There is a new Firefox add-on called Lightbeam that makes it easier to see just who is tracking you. Lightbeam is a successor to the Collusion add-on that was described in a previous Hot Find and in this previous tip. The new add-on provides visual representations that enable you to see the relationships between third parties and the sites you visit.
I had used Collusion previously and I decided to give this one a try. I also use the NoScript and AdBlockPlus blocking extensions and I decided to do an experiment. I first visited a well-known technology news site with both blocking extensions disabled. The graphic above shows what Lightbeam displayed for third-party connections. (In the actual display, placing the cursor on a triangle shows what the link is.) Then I enabled the two blocking extensions and revisited the same technology news site. The second graphic shows that third-party connections are much reduced but some are still present. Their identities can be found by placing the cursor on a triangle. You can then decide what, if anything, that you want to do about these remaining trackers or connections.
Lightbeam has several ways of displaying information and a description of its uses can be found at this Mozilla link. More information and the download link are at this Mozilla page. After you install it, it gives you a chance to retain or delete any old Collusion database that you may have. On my system, the icon for the add-on was placed in the lower right corner of the screen.
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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.
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