Mozilla has a new add-on for Firefox called Lightbeam. I call it the snoop-back tool because the add-on lets you see third party sites who connect to your activity once you land on a particular website. Today I decided to check the Obamacare tax site, source Healthcare.gov with Lightbeam. I found that once I connected to the federales’ site, 10 third party sites were privy to at least some of my information.
It’s not a horror, by the way, to have third parties utilizing your data, especially if you get something free. For instance, I use Facebook. It’s a massive site with billions of users, right? That site only had 5 third party sites connecting when I checked my page.
Lightbeam began as a personal projected named Collusion; it was created by Mozilla software developer Atul Varma. The add-on is described by Mozilla:
“Using interactive visualizations, Lightbeam enables you to see the first and third party sites you interact with on the Web. As you browse, Lightbeam reveals the full depth of the Web today, including parts that are not transparent to the average user. Using three distinct interactive graphic representations — Graph, Clock and List — Lightbeam enables you to examine individual third parties over time and space, identify where they connect to your online activity and provides ways for you to engage with this unique view of the Web.”
You can download Lightbeam for Firefox free, and thank Mozilla. So far, Mozilla hasn’t disappointed me the way Google has. I dub Mozilla one of the few good guys left in tech.
As for Healthcare.gov, those 10 third party sites are those that can be detected. Only President Barack Obama and his insiders know for sure how many databases are tracking your info and interactions on Democrats’ health tax site.
Bear in mind that all I did was click on the Healthcare.gov page. I entered no data. It would be interesting for someone who did apply to check to see how many more third parties could access your data.
Lightbeam is a free add-on, and it downloads and installs quickly.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Oct. 25, 2013)
Graphics: Snips from my Lightbeam add-on/Firefox.