Time to Lighten the Situation

When I first came across this program, my initial thought involved the resentment about downloading Mozilla Firefox. As a Google Chrome User, I felt like I was betraying the google brand by switching web browsers. Anyway, today’s post involves the use of this clever program called “Light Beam”. Light Beam is an add on program for the Mozilla Firefox browser that tracks any third-party tracking cookies that are placed on the user’s computer when visiting various websites. These results are shown through a graph that are the result of these third-party tracking cookies. Being the average techy that I am, I already formulated an idea about how the graph would look like if I were to use it. My initial expectation perceived this ad on to display a couple of branches the grow from the main websites that I visit. To test out my hypothesis, I set a timer for 20 minutes and browsed the internet like I normally do to see what my results were.

I was shocked when I saw how big the graph was. Within the 20 minutes, I visited only four big websites; Facebook, Twitch, Reddit, and Youtube. Just from these websites alone, Light Beam created a graph that was incomprehensible to my feeble mind. As I hovered around the graph, I saw many links to websites that just looked like plain gibberish. For example, one of the branches coming out from Facebook was called “cx.atdmt.com. Just for fun, I typed this website into my browser and was surprised with the typical domain for sale with the inclusion of inappropriate content for the younger audience. In addition to this discovery, it also seems like some of the third-party cookies were actually connected to one another over the span of different websites.

Screenshot of my results.

Light Beam surpassed my expectation of how the program worked by a longshot. Using this program has given me more insight about how my information is shared across hundreds of other small platforms. Within browsing through only four websites, the number of third party tracking cookies exceeds the ability to count the branches effectively. Apart from the confusing mess that is created by Light Beam, I think it is a brilliant program to really go into depth about how their information is being transferred. With the overwhelming results that came from these four websites, I can only imagine how much bigger the graph would become if I was a regular user of Mozilla Firefox. Sadly, I am not. Now it’s time to uninstall Firefox and go back to master of all web browsers, Google Chrome.