WARNING: YOU ARE BEING FOLLOWED
Many of us are not aware of what is really happening as we surf the internet.
I’ve decided to take a 20-minute experiment using an application called Lightbeam which helped me observe what is happening as I surf the internet.
The results are rather interesting:
The image on the left is a screenshot of the graph generated from the Lightbeam application that shows the number of websites I’ve visited (20) and the number of website I have connected with (194).
To think after visiting 20 websites, there are 194 other third party sites that somehow came into contact with my browser is rather disturbing.
The image on the left is another screen shot taken from Lightbeam which outlines the 20 websites I have specifically visited.
In addition: the purple lines indicate the connections from the websites I’ve visited to the other third-party websites and the cookies that came in contact with my browser. At this point, those cookies are following my browser.
Lastly, the screenshot on the left is a more close-up view of the third party websites my browser has come in contact with that I have not directly visited.
Overall, I’d suggest everyone to be cautious of the platforms and websites they are visiting and understand the type of privacy they are giving up in order to visit such websites.
One other recommendation I would give is to delete the cookies on your browser on an ongoing base. Although this won’t completely eliminate third-party websites from tracking your every move it will certainly reduce it significantly. Here is a detailed article on how to effectively delete cookies from all browsers.
BONUS: Here is a tutorial on how to use Lightbeam for Firefox