Mozilla Lightbeam reveals who’s watching you online

Evan Dashevsky writes: You are being stalked, right now, at this very moment. And by that, I mean your personal information is considered a very hot commodity among people you have never even met.

We all leave behind little bits of personal information with every new new step in our digital footprint: What sites we visit, what searches we conduct, what links we follow, and so on. Collecting that information is big business. Every time you visit a website—even this one—a ripple of data is sent through the Internet, often without our knowledge and sometimes without our consent. Lightbeam, a visually striking new add-on from Mozilla, helps illuminate the sometimes-invisible connections that weave our digital lives.

Firefoxers can find the Lightbeam add-on here. Once installed, users will find the Lightbeam logo in the bottom right of the browser. Clicking it will open a new tab with three visualization options: Graph, Clock, and List.

The default Graph option creates an zoomable, interactive visualization of your Web activity. Every time you voluntarilly visit a site, Lightbeam records this hit with a circle icon. Lightbeam assigns a triangle icon for every third-party site actively sucking data from the page you visited. Each site you visit is visually connected with a drawn line; a purple line means that a cookie is involved in the data transfer. Each site icon will be sized according to the amount of connections, and each icon will be closer to other icons depending on how many connections they share. [Continue reading…]

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