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Keep sneaky online trackers at bay

Monday, 4 August 2014 - 7:40am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Thousands of companies lose the data they collect to hackers and identity thieves, putting your information and you at risk. Most companies do not even alert users of the hack in fear of losing customers. With do not track requests, the universal Web tracking opt-out you can enable in your browser, users finally had some relief. But as companies started to ignore the users.

Do Not Track requests, the need for enforcing users' preferences whether companies respect them or not arose. So EFF came up with Privacy Badger a browser extension designed to combat intrusive and objectionable practices that are taking place in the online advertising industry.

"Widgets that say 'Like this page on Facebook' or 'Tweet this' often allow those companies to see what webpages you are visiting, even if you never click the widget's button," said EFF Technology Projects Director Peter Eckersley. "The Privacy Badger alpha would detect that, and block those widgets outright. But now Privacy Badger's beta version has gotten smarter: it can block the tracking while still giving you the option to see and click on those buttons if you so choose."

Just by visiting a website which have specific kinds of embeded images, scripts or mechanisms for advertising can result in tracking you without your knowledge. Information such as what kind of device you are using, where in the world you are right now and what you are searching for becomes available to the tracker which stores this data permanently .

By using Privacy Badger you can detect trackers that are following you without your knowledge and block content from that tracker or remove the tracking mechanism.Advertisers and other third-party domains that manage to get themselves blocked by Privacy Badger can undo the process by making a formal commitment to respect their users' Do Not Track requests.

"Users who install Privacy Badger aren't just getting more privacy and a better browsing experience for themselves—they are providing incentives for improved privacy practices and respect for Do Not Track choices across the Internet," said Eckersely. "Using Privacy Badger helps to make the Web as a whole better for everyone."

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