Collusion add-on shows which companies are spying on your browsing

March 2nd, 2012 27 Comments By Mof Gimmers

spy title cropped Collusion add on shows which companies are spying on your browsingMozilla (those behind Firefox) have unleashed a new add-on for their browser which gives users the chance to see which companies are snooping on them as they browse.

Of course, this is an sly-dig at Google’s new controversial new privacy policy. The add-on is called Collusion and enables you to see which advertising firms and third parties are tracking your online movements.

The Collusion add-on is an official Mozilla product, and was unveiled at the Technology, Entertainment and Design conference this week by Mozilla. Mozilla CEO, Gary Kovacs, says: ’Collusion is an experimental add-on for Firefox and allows you to see all the third parties that are tracking your movements across the Web. It will show, in real time, how that data creates a spider-web of interaction between companies and other trackers.’

‘Collusion will allow us to pull back the curtain and provide users with more information about the growing role of third parties, how data drives most Web experiences, and ultimately how little control we have over that experience and our loss of data.’

In addition to this, Mozilla aims to build up a database of the worst offenders and make the data available to privacy campaigners.

‘When we launch the full version of Collusion, it will allow you to opt-in to sharing your anonymous data in a global database of web tracker data,’ says the company. ‘We’ll combine all that information and make it available to help researchers, journalists, and others analyze and explain how data is tracked on the web.’

Google has been a big champion of Firefox in the past, but it seems that, since they started to withdraw interest from the browser in a bid to push Chrome, relations between the two companies have cooled. Looks like Mozilla are on the offensive with this. Could we be seeing the birth of yet another e-war?

Comments (27) Jump to most recent comment
  1. Posted by The Real Bob March 2, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    The only problem with that is that no one uses Firefox any more.

  2. Posted by Mike Hock March 2, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Better than seeing the birth of another e-wok

  3. Posted by klingelton March 2, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    @bob where did that fact come from?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_web_browsers

  4. Posted by klingelton March 2, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    Look! I’m relying on wikipedia for facts and figures. It’s on wikipedia, so it must be true!

  5. Posted by Phil March 2, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    I thought the only thing keeping Mozilla going was google donations…. Isn’t this just biting the hand that feeds you? Also doesn’t this miss the point – Its not just what’s tracked but how its used. At least Google tell you what they do with it – bet the smaller firms don’t.

  6. Posted by dai March 2, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    The funny thing about this is that google, facebook and co think that this data is very valuable and useful. Literally, it’s a list that says:

    I went to gmail
    googled something
    looked at porn
    googled something else
    looked at porn
    read something on the register
    went on bitterwallet
    looked at porn
    went to glasses direct

    etc

    so they think “WOAH! this guy went to glasses direct. Let’s serve him loads of glasses direct adverts. Then he’ll click on them, and we’ll get paid.”

    Forgetting of course that I’ve already been there once and bought some glasses so I have no need to ever go there again in the near future.

    This is how the internet is paid for. It’s scary.

  7. Posted by Mary Hinge March 2, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    dai, do you need glasses because you’ve been whacking off too much?

  8. Posted by Harry B Ver March 2, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    What ‘other’ browsers are peeps using? Are people still using Netscape Navigator?

  9. Posted by dai March 2, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    @Mary – that was the subtle mirthful subtext, yes. Well spotted.

  10. Posted by TunaFanny March 2, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Of course, what they should do is feed you more porn as that is clearly your preference. They never get it right.

  11. Posted by Mary Hinge March 2, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Thanks dai.

  12. Posted by The Real Bob March 2, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    @Kingelton, you are correct, I should have said “no one with a lick of IT literacy uses Firefox any more. V4 was a debacle, and every release after that was a bug fix for the previous versions which fell over left right and centre.”, as for the mobile version, don’t get me started.

  13. Posted by Shaniaa March 2, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    I always wondered why ah got followed aroond by tit enlargment & motherkare websites haha!

  14. Posted by Shaniaa March 2, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    an wats aw this about burninn foxes and chrome stuff? foxes live in Wales an all I have in chrome is ma engaigmint ring?

  15. Posted by Marky Mark March 2, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Oh man, I just used my Firefox “browser” to go onto knowhow.com, the latest great service from Dixons Retail Group. Now I’m watching two quality recently-released films at the same time as Downturn Bastarding Abbey on my “netbook” and I still have money left for a “video game” from my local Dixons Retail Group outlet, who stock a wide range complete with great extended warranties at pocket-money prices. I am one happy customer! God bless you Dixons Retail Group!

  16. Posted by Richard March 2, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    I’m happy for google to give me targeted ads. I’m gonna get ads regardless so i’d at least like them to be in some way relevant to me :-P

  17. Posted by Avon Barksdale March 2, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    You’re new here, aren’t you Richard?

  18. “since they started to withdraw interest from the browser in a bid to push Chrome” – less than 3 months ago Google signed a new 3 year contract with Mozilla – the previous contract was worth $100m last year (over 80% of Mozilla’s total revenue) and the new contract is expected to be worth even more.

    Not sure that counts as withdrawing interest.

    @Bob – would anyone ‘with a lick of IT literacy’ make sweeping generalisations about the users of a particular browser? I think not.

  19. Posted by Ken Livingston March 2, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    I blame Boris

  20. Posted by Boris March 2, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    Don’t blame me Commie Ken.

    I never use the Internet.

  21. Posted by Good ole 'arry March 3, 2012 at 10:22 am

    me neither I tipe like a 5 year old

  22. Posted by The Real Bob March 3, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    @Ray, I bet you’ve got an iPhone too haven’t you?

  23. Posted by Ray March 3, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Don’t try to drag me into this Bob. I never use the Internet.

    Sent from my iPhone.

  24. Posted by The Real Bob March 3, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Sorry Ray I meant Roy, obviously I was thinking about iPhone users and merged 2 words.

  25. Posted by Incapability Bowes March 4, 2012 at 5:41 am

    I set fire to foxes then bum them.

  26. Posted by Me March 4, 2012 at 6:31 am

    Google’s chrome has had Ghostry showing these sites for an age, with some links to opt outs. The real beef is with the places who won’t let you opt out easily from their website, yet they don’t have big headline grabbing names like Google, so no one seems to give a damn.

  27. Posted by Frank "Ponch" Poncherello" March 4, 2012 at 7:05 am

    If I put this add-on in Firefox will it stop me from getting caught and possibly arrested for spying on my neighbours grandmother when shes having a shower.

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