In the age of social media, we’re aware that we have voluntarily provided some personal information on networking and other sites. It’s why we can surf the internet and use programs like Spotify, Facebook, and Pandora for free, because our personal data is used to specifically tailor advertisements to us.
But what about advertisers gathering and using information that we would rather be kept to ourselves? Are we simply powerless in having to continue our online activities while advertisers and others collect any and every piece of information about us?
Three add-ons that can be installed for free on Firefox or Google Chrome help restore power to the user. They offer features such as showing whether a page is actively being tracked by corporations or other entities, as well as scanning a site for malware or phishing scams.
- TrafficLight by Bitedefender
Like its namesake, the TrafficLight add-on displays a color-coded indicator based on its evaluation of the site’s safety. Red corresponds to the presence of malware, yellow means the page is being tracked, and green says the site is all clear.
- Privacy Badger by the Electronic Frontier Foundation
The newest add-on, still in alpha testing, also has the farthest-reaching goals when it comes to what its creators hope the system will accomplish. As a program that blocks third-party content, it leaves companies the option that, if they begin respecting ‘do not track’ requests, the program will unblock them. The goal in mind is that if enough people begin using this add-on that it will force companies to end their sneaky tracking ways and enact more reasonable privacy policies instead.
- PrivacyFix by AVG
While the other two add-ons are fairly simple and straightforward, AVG’s PrivacyFix offers the most in-depth approach to maintaining privacy. It notifies you about potentially vulnerable aspects of your social media accounts, indicates whether a page is being tracked and identifies the third parties tracking it, and even allows you to block these agencies, something that not all add-ons do. For more details: CNET Full Article
Whether you’re seeking a simple way to check up on those who are checking up on you, or you’d prefer a more comprehensive system to prevent your data being shared and used when you don’t want it to be, there’s an option for you in the above-mentioned plugins. On top of that, they’re free, so there’s no charge for a system that finally gives you, rather than advertisers, more control over your personal data.