See who is tracking you online with Collusion

Have you ever thought about the amount of information that is shared about you – freely – online?   Are you ready to be shocked and perhaps a little unnerved?

I recently came across an extension for Chrome called Collusion (there is also a Firefox version) and it’s pretty neat.

After you’ve installed it, a small icon appears on your toolbar like this:

All you need to do is visit any web page and then click on the icon.  Collusion will then generate a bubble graph with the current site at the center and then each site that was sent personal data about you around it.  Here’s an example from a single visit to a major social media blog (click on image for full size):

For me, this is pretty frightening.  One visit to one website and some information about that visit was sent to a total of 26 different sites!  The circles outlined in red are considered confirmed tracking sites.

Collusion continues to track this information until you clear/reset the graph.  And so here’s what it looks like after just another couple of minutes of random browsing:

Although all of this data flying around does not necessarily mean that your private/personal details are being shared to all and sundry – websites are increasingly using apis and third-party web services to provide the functionality that they require (e.g. commenting engines, social media shares, etc).  But I still think that this is pretty alarming and certainly makes me consider my own views on online privacy.



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2 Responses to See who is tracking you online with Collusion

  1. Adrian Bold May 2, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    Thanks for sharing ‘though in a way I would have preferred not to know! 

  2. 1MattHopkins May 2, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    Yeah me too.  Still can’t believe that one page on one site generates 26 connections to other sites (many of which are tracking).

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