Block Third-Party Tracking with the Privacy Badger Browser Extension

In light of recent data indicating that privacy is the biggest concern among Internet users, the Electronic Frontier Foundation created an extension to stop third-party tracking online.

privacy badger

According a recent report from Firefox, privacy is the number one concern among web users. In fact, Firefox ranked privacy higher than opportunity, accessibility, learning and freedom in every region surveyed. To wit, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has created a browser add-on tool to block third parties from tracking users online.

Internet activists have been pushing for an ability to opt out of tracking for years. DoNotTrack.us, which enables users to check their browser status and provides opt out resources, has been a huge part of that effort. But in the face of evidence that companies won’t comply with the Do Not Track proposal, the EFF is concerned the policy will not be enough.

Indeed, the April 30, 2014 update to the Yahoo privacy policy stated that “As of today, web browser Do Not Track settings will no longer be enabled on Yahoo,” citing a lack of industry standard.

Given a drawn out, lengthy campaign surrounding Do Not Track, the EFF has decided to move forward with their extension called Privacy Badger. It’s not designed to filter out first-party tracking (like Amazon remembering viewing history) but third-party requests like advertisers trying to track a user across multiple sites. Privacy Badger also intends to allow useful third-party tracking.

“In some cases a third-party domain provides some important aspect of a page’s functionality, such as embedded maps, images or fonts. In those cases, Privacy Badger will allow connections to the third party but will screen out its tracking cookies,” the EFF statement read.

The extension allows third-party domains to unblock themselves by providing a “strong commitment to respect do not track requests.” Through this mechanism, EFF hopes to tackle the issue of tracking head on, raising awareness for the Do Not Track policy proposal and forcing businesses to react.