Your data is worth a lot of money. A quick look at your cookies after a short browsing session can be quite surprising. Almost everyone wants to track and remember you. If you’ve ever had the big brother-esque experience of seeing an ad on Facebook for something you only recently Googled, you’ve fallen victim to the various trackers that follow us around online. Installing an anti-tracking browser extension can help block the prying eyes and advanced technologies that track you and allow advertisers and other invisible parties to target you.
Privacy Badger is both the simplest and the most trustworthy block we used in our review testing.See Full Review
I’ve spent the past decade trying to reclaim and recover my privacy online. From researching bleeding-edge methods that trackers use to learning the ins and outs of every feature of popular privacy software — it’s my primary hobby interest. I also think it’s valuable to note that this website is entirely the work of one person. That means that I have personally tested all of the apps that are reviewed, in contrast to a multi-author website where the reviewer may lack the context and experience with other apps for an accurate comparison.
When you visit a website on the internet, various pieces of data are delivered to your web browser. Some of that data comes directly from the site itself (the first party), such as images, the text you’re reading, the CSS stylesheet, etc.
Other pieces of data come from embedded third-party services. Some of these services are required for basic functionality, such as hosted code libraries, or embedded videos. Some are the result of financial partnerships, such as advertising or data brokering, and are mostly invisible, by design, to the end user (you).
When we talk about anti-tracking tools, we’re primarily talking about a subset of plugins that block the loading of these external third-party assets. Most tools can easily differentiate between desirable objects, such as videos, images, or required code libraries, and will only target and block resources that seem to be tracking you to build a profile on you.
With these tools, it’s complicated to determine how effective they actually are. With ad blockers, you can see results as you browse around, but with anti-tracking extensions, you kind of set and forget and just operate on faith that you’re browsing a little more privately.
I personally installed each of the browser extensions on my Macbook and used them for a minimum period of a week. I spend a lot of time on the internet, generally 6-8 hours a day, and see hundreds of websites. I’m confident that this gave me a solid baseline of experience with each of these extensions to accurately report my findings.