Lightbeam: Mozilla releases add-on that reveals online data tracking

Mozilla has released Lightbeam, a Firefox add-on that aims to help people understand and visualize the data tracking that occurs online.

Lightbeam is the second iteration of an experimental add-on called Collusion, which was a personal project launched by Mozilla software developer Atul Varma. The browser extension creates a real-time graph of all of the tracking cookies being deposited on your browser as you move from site to site. It can distinguish between behavioral tracking cookies and non-behavioral ones. The idea is that users can better understand which sites are using the same behaviorally targeted advertisements (ahem, Criteo).

The tool aims to highlight both the first- and third-party companies that people interact with as they travel across the Web. It shows a map of the websites you visit and highlights the third parties that are also active on those pages. It will analyze the relationships between various first- and third-party sites that are stored in your online data.

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