Protect your privacy. That’s the clarion call of the digital age when every click is monitored and every social platform is actually an intrusion into our privacy.
Let’s remember also that there’s not much that separates privacy from security. There are numerous tools that are helping us to build ‘digital walls of China’, but for a newbie some of the tools like VPN browsing may be a bit of a job setting up. There are some simpler solutions though that helps keep you on the winning side of the privacy battle.
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Collusion for Chrome is a nifty little extension that watches out for advertisers and other sites that track you during a browsing session. What’s more, the entire information is mapped out in a cool visual map. The interactive map allows you to block the intrusive sites with a click while letting you glean all the info on the site. Collusion has tools for Firefox and Chrome. You can get them all on the Disconnect website, but we on Chrome can also briefly head to the Chrome Web Store to install the extension.
Make the web more private, less cluttered, faster, and safer
That’s the credo of the extension. Collusion says that it blocks more than 800 tracking sites that normally remain invisible behind our browsing sessions. Collusion is also Open Source, so anyone with knowledge can examine their code to ascertain if the extension is itself safe.
Start off by browsing the web as usual. Go to the regular sites as you do. You will notice that the Collusion icon installed on your toolbar starts animating. That’s the signal that any sort of tracking has started. You can click on the icon to display the Collusion graph.
Collusion explains all the details very neatly in the grey sidebar. Each circle is a site that’s part of your browsing session in some way. Circles with a halo are sites you have actually visited. Others aren’t, but maybe tracking you. The circles in red are explicitly tracking you and are among the 800 advertiser sites that Collusion knows about and has blocked them. Circles in grey aren’t but they can still track you – for e.g. Google Analytics.
By clicking on the information in the sidebar you can come to know more about the site and any associated service that is sharing your browsing information.
What I really liked about Collusion is that it gives me a simple and elegant solution to the problem. I don’t have to go about blocking every site that’s tracking me and trying to offer me personalized but unwanted ads. Plus, my browsing is smooth as it was before. The extension claims ‘logically’ that it should speed up browsing as third-part information leeching is disabled, but I haven’t noticed anything significant so far. Maybe, I will when the browsing gets heavier.
Try out Collusion for Chrome and ensure that third-party ad networks don’t get to your information and you can be assured of a little bit of privacy.