In this presentation courtesy of TedTalks, Gary Kovacs, CEO of Mozilla Corporation, discusses the subject of privacy on the Web. Even though people would like to believe the Internet is a private place, it is not. As you surf the Web, information is being collected about you. Web tracking is not 100% evil — personal data can make your browsing more efficient; cookies can help your favorite websites stay in business. But, says Gary Kovacs, it’s your right to know what data is being collected about you and how it affects your online life. He unveils a Firefox add-on to do just that.
As we surf websites we are being tracked in ways that are not always in accordance with what we would agree if we knew it. Sometimes the tracking is helpful in that it enables websites to recommend book we would like, friends we should connect to or places we would like to see. But often the tracking is being used by companies to build our digital profiles and use it in ways we are not aware of; this field is called: Behavioral Tracking.
The rules in this area are essentially designed to protect the privacy of internet users – even where the information being collected about them is not directly personally identifiable. The changes to the Directive in 2009 were prompted in part by concerns about online tracking of individuals and the use of spyware. These are not rules designed to restrict the use of particular technologies as such, they are intended to prevent information being stored on people’s computers, and used to recognize them via the device they are using, without their knowledge and agreement.
In order to demonstrate how users are being over tracked, Mr. Kovacs presents Collusion, a new Firefox add-on that allows us to see all the third parties that are tracking our movements across the Web. It shows, in real time, how that data creates a spider-web of interaction between companies and other trackers.