Visiting a website is no longer enough these days. When you leave a website, they want to know where you are going. They want to leave tracking cookies on your browser.
Thanks to analytics tools like Google Analytics, they even want to log everything from your geographic location to what color of underwear you were wearing during your visit.
Thank goodness there are now browser tools out there that can stop this entirely, or at least seriously hinder their efforts.
Developed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Privacy Badger comes pre-installed with many built-in privacy protections. Known trackers and scripts are automatically blocked, but you can unblock any of them if the website stops working or if you think any of them are too restrictive.
I generally don’t recommend doing this unless absolutely necessary. But sometimes this is necessary because, for example, it interferes with some of the functions of Gmail.
There are three levels of privacy – red, yellow and green. Green is perfectly safe, red is very bad, and yellow is generally okay.
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I have walked back and forth with Ghostery in the past. It’s a great tool, but by and large I found Privacy Badger easier and less difficult to use. But Ghostery still holds a firm footing when you think about how to improve the security of your browser.
Besides the Ghostery browser extension, they also have the Ghostery mobile browser for Android and iOS. They also have a Clickz desktop browser. You can get links to all of them on the Ghostery homepage.
But I find it odd that UTM analytics tracking codes are attached to the links to these privacy browsers. I will discuss UTM tracking later in the article.
Anyway, back to the browser extension that is available for Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, Edge, and Internet Explorer 5.4.0. After installation, you will see what you want to block.
If you “pick from the list”, you will be presented with a HUGE list to choose from. If you really have nothing to do, I would suggest choosing the default or blocking everything. You can always customize it as you go.
This is another invention of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, created in collaboration with the Tor Browser development team. Available for Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Firefox for Android phones, the name speaks for itself.
This is a very simple tool that ensures that if you have an https version of the page, you will be automatically redirected to it. These pages are secure pages with a small padlock next to the address bar that prevent anyone from intercepting your data as it travels from your computer to another.
In a way, HTTPS Everywhere is now a bit redundant as all the big players like Google, Facebook and Amazon have switched to https by default. And regular sites like mine are subject to fines if we don’t enable https by default. Add to that that sites like Chrome now routinely block non-HTTPS sites as “insecure”.
Tracking URLs and redirect lines (Chrome only)
Ok, back to those UTM codes. On the Ghostery homepage, if you click on the browser download link, the link will look like this:
See all this UTM bullshit at the end of the link? This is the Google Analytics tracking code that tells the website owner where their traffic is coming from.
Using this tracking code, everything about you is now logged into their Google Analytics account. Where are you in the world, how long have you visited, how long have you visited, what other pages have you viewed .
This extremely useful Chrome extension removes UTM codes automatically, so when you click on one of these links the above URL will look like:
BlockBear (iOS only)
My favorite VPN is without a doubt Tunnelbear It’s easy to use, requires little to no complicated configuration and has never let me down. But they have other smaller products, and one of them is an iOS app called BlockBear (the other is a password manager called RememBear
As you can see from the screenshot above, you just need to enable it at the top and then decide which features you want to enable at the bottom. You can block ads, block social media post buttons, block tracking, and if you have favorite websites, you can whitelist them. BlockBear claims to load websites “three to five times faster,” but I cannot confirm this independently. –
As you can see from the screenshot above, you just need to enable it at the top and then decide which features you want to enable at the bottom. You can block ads, block social media post buttons, block tracking, and if you have favorite websites, you can whitelist them.
BlockBear claims to load websites “three to five times faster,” but I cannot confirm this independently.