Privacy on the web — take back control
So if you want to regain some of your online privacy, there are some things you can do. You could enable “do not track” in your browser settings, but this is just a request, which means that websites simply can (and will) ignore this. To really be effective, you need extensions or add-ons.
Ghostery blocks trackers on the web. You can manually select which trackers it should block, which is nice, because sometimes you need to allow some to be able to see comments for example. So not only can you see what trackers are active on a site, you can also block them. On Android, they offer a browser with similar functionality. While it also blocks some ads, it’s not a full ad blocker and you shouldn’t use it as such.
Similar to Ghostery is Disconnect, which is open source.
While not as well known as Adblock Plus, uBlock Origin (Chrome, Firefox) should be a little easier on your computer’s RAM and CPU. It does not only let you block ads, but has some privacy filters as well. So yes, if you don’t want to block ads, you could only use privacy and malware filters.
DuckDuckGo is a search engine like Google, but DDG “doesn’t track you”. This means that it does not collect and share your search data. Don’t expect a dull white page with search results however. DDG is pretty smart and has some unique functions. For example, typing “!a” immediately takes you to Amazon without showing search results.
Tracking Protection in Firefox
Recently, Mozilla introduced Tracking Protection when browsing in private mode in Firefox. It uses a list provided by Disconnect to block trackers. The good news is that there is a trick to also enable it outside of private mode. You need to enter the hidden settings within Firefox by visiting “about:config” and set “privacy.trackingprotection.enabled” to “true” (double click).