The problem with browser extensions that claim to protect your Web privacy from the multitude of online advertisers, spammers and profiteers, is that they boil down to a matter of trust.
In most cases, you have to agree to let the extension, made by a developer you’ve probably never heard of (although some are good people who have earned the public’s trust), look at everything you do online.
Luckily the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization dedicated to Internet freedom since 1990, has your back. EFF has its own browser extension for Chrome and Firefox, called the Privacy Badger, and it’s now in beta.
Available for download here, EFF’s extension is based on the work of Adblock Plus. But it’s meant to do more than just block aggressive ads and it will likely be updated as new threats arise.
EFF created Privacy Badger to fight intrusive and objectionable practices in the online advertising industry. Merely visiting a website with certain kinds of embedded images, scripts, or advertising can open the door to a third-party tracker, which can then collect a record of the page you are visiting and merge that with a database of what you did beforehand and afterward. If Privacy Badger spots a tracker following you without your permission, it will either block all content from that tracker or screen out the tracking cookies.
Privacy Badger is one way that Internet users can fight the decision that many companies have made to ignore Do Not Track requests, the universal Web tracking opt-out you can enable in your browser. Privacy Badger enforces users’ preferences whether these companies respect your Do Not Track choice or not. Advertisers and other third-party domains that are blocked in Privacy Badger can unblock themselves by making a formal commitment to respect their users’ Do Not Track requests.
“Users who install Privacy Badger aren’t just getting more privacy and a better browsing experience for themselves—they are providing incentives for improved privacy practices and respect for Do Not Track choices across the Internet,” said Eckersely. “Using Privacy Badger helps to make the Web as a whole better for everyone.”
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