Thinking About Tracking

A while back, I had written about a new add-on to Firefox.  It was an extension called Collusion that let you see the extent of your connections left by cookies as you visit websites.

I visited the website today and watched a very interesting video.

I think it would be a wonderful movie to show in the classroom and talk about the entire message it contains.

It really made me think about tracking and its implications.  The website has a series of tools to help you disconnect websites that would try to track you and not just from their home site.

  • Facebook disconnect
  • Twitter disconnect
  • Google disconnect
  • disconnect a la carte

There is also now a version of Collusion available for Google Chrome.

The above selection of tools is available at this page.

It sounds like a good deal.  It addresses the issues from the talk at Defcon.  I’ve actually had the disconnect a la carte installed on my computer for a while now.  It seems like a good idea.

But, not necessarily.

The moment that I turn the blocker on, some things stopped working.  For example, it was blocking Google cookies and all of a sudden, I’m unable to log into Gmail or Google Plus. It was either turn that option off or stop using the services.  Since both are regulars for me, I turned it off.

It was a good think about tracking and blocking.  When you block things, the price that you pay may be loss of access to your services.  Sometimes, services like these have a whitelist which allows for cookies on a particular site but not others.  In other words, it’s OK to give me cookies from X and not from Y.  That doesn’t appear to be the case here.

So, is the price that one pays to use the internet?  It would be nice to be completely on your own terms but that’s not possible.  I guess the only completely safe way is to just leave the computer off.

The thinking continues.


OTR Links 05/08/2012

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.