Lightbeam is a Firefox add-on that allows you see the third party sites that you interact with while you are on the web in real-time. In addition, Lightbeam reports your relationship with these sites as well. Today, I downloaded the app and monitored my activity. After just 20 minutes surfing online, Lightbeam shows revealed that while I only visited 12 sites, I was connected with 98 third-party sites!
As you browse the web, you are being tracked through “cookies” – which are essentially tiny bits of data that are stored onto your computer while you browse. When you return to the website, the cookies are sent back to the server to notify the website of your return and previous activity. In some respects, cookies can make your browsing more efficient, as it tailors relevant information based on your experience. However, the reduction in security through shared personal information is an obvious downside to cookies. As you have a private conversation, pay your bills and shop, third parties continue to collect your information – and it’s perfectly legal. Whenever you sign up for an account online you are agreeing to their term and conditions to allow the website and external sources to collect and share your information!
Find out who is watching you: