Lightbeam will reveal third-party companies tracking your browsing activities. In an effort to shine the lightbeam on who may be watching your online activity Mozilla, with the support the Ford Foundation, has released the free Firefox browser extension Lightbeam.
The function of Lightbeam is to reveal to you first and third party sites you ineract with through your browser. The extension will reveal hidden parties as well. Now you will be able to see who is tracking your usage and to whom the data is being sent.
On their product page Mozilla asserts:
Not all tracking is bad. Many services rely on user data to provide relevant content and enhance your online experience. But tracking can happen without the user’s knowledge. That’s not okay for some. It should be you who decides when, how and if you want your browsing data to be shared. We recognize the importance of transparency and our mission is all about empowering users — both with tools and information.
Mozilla has posted the source code on Github as part of an open source projet allowing developers to expand and improve Lightbeam.
Lightbeam creates a record of events for all sites you visit, including third party sites stored locally on your browser. It provides visual graphs of those events to emphasize the communications between sites you intentionally visit and the third parties hidden from you. Lightbeam continually tracks data and adds it to your graph as you surf the web.
The user has the ability to disable it or uninstall Lightbeam at any time. You can also save or delete the data accumulated by the add-on. Optionally you can share the data with the Lightbeam database. Mozilla says the data users agree to share will be used to form a broader picture of how first and third party sites interconnect.
Hopefully Lightbeam will encourage users to be aware of their online privacy, and the dangers of their behavior online.