All Internet users were recently made aware of the fact that social networking sites like Facebook, Google+ or Twitter had the power to track a user's movement over the web. This is done with the help of scripts such as Facebook Like or Twitter buttons that webmasters add to their websites and pages. While it is not really clear if the social networking sites use the information to track users - and Facebook vehemently said they do not - it is clear that they have the capabilities to do so.
This falls in line with the finding that Facebook does not delete all cookies on a user system during sign out.
I reviewed several browser extensions and add-ons to deal with the privacy issue, Share Me Not for Firefox for instance is one of them.
Priv3 for Firefox uses a very similar concept to improve a user's privacy on the Internet. The developers of the extension note that Priv3 "does not block third-party interactions completely". It instead "selectively suppresses the inclusion of third-party web cookies" when the browser connects to the social networks.
Instead of blocking or removing the social scripts outright, it basically blocks their functionality until the user makes the decision to interact with them. With the add-on installed it is still possible to see the number of likes, Twitter messages or +1s a page has received.
When you start interacting with a social networking script on a site the extension starts to reload the session cookies to pass on the click to the social networking site so that the desired action can be completed (e.g. liking a page).
Priv3 in its current state supports the three top social networking sites Facebook, Twitter and Google+, as well as LinkedIn. The developers promise to add support for additional sites in future releases.
The extension works similar to Share Me Not which uses a similar technique to block privacy sensitive data to be transferred to one of the social networks. Firefox users can install Priv3 from the official Mozilla add-on repository.Advertisement
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.