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It tells you exactly what companies, ad networks, and tracking services are being downloaded from a site, and allows you to selectively enable them.It presents users with 2 types of cookies (‘trackers’) – those downloaded directly from the site (such as Word Press remembering you’re logged in) – and so-called “3PES” – or third-party elements.If you think that’s somehow ethically wrong, then stop watching TV, because they do exactly the same thing.During cooking shows, a large number of ads for cooking appliances and kitchen stuff will show. Heck, there’s even a bus-stop ad campaign in the UK that only shows itself when a female walks by. Scare tactics are part of the problem, from conspiracy theorists who believe the government is watching them and now the Internet tracking companies know their every move too.Over the past few months, I’ve been contacted by a good number of readers who have had problems downloading our guides, or why they can’t see the login buttons or comments not loading; and in 99% of cases, it’s because they’re running one these plugins – Ad Block, No Script, or Ghostery – which I shall hereby refer to as the “trifecta of evil”. Matt has already written an extensive article on why Ad Block plugin is destroying the Internet, but I want to throw my own opinion in here too.For those of you who don’t know, Ad Block silently removes all advertising and social buttons.I’ll admit right now that when you throw social networks into the mix, we may have serious privacy concerns – because suddenly, all this data can be traced back to you and not simply an anonymous user.I’ll leave that to another time or another author to present that side of the argument though.
If company X puts a cookie on the New York Times and MSNBC site, and you browse to both those and Wikipedia, it only knows about the two upon on which it was placed.
So how much can these companies actually “track” your web usage?
Well for one, they certainly aren’t able to see what you’re doing in other tabs, other windows, or general Internet searching.
In other words, they can’t tell that your other tab is open on Asian Hotties or
By far the easiest way to keep your private browsing actually private is to keep one particular browser, a portable thumbdrive version perhaps, to do all those browsing needs in.Ghostery maintains a glossary of all the known tracking scripts and the companies they belong to – it’s comprehensive, and I applaud it.