My Experience with Firefox Lightbeam

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My Lightbeam graph shows that in the 20 minutes I spent browsing the internet I went to 10 different websites.  From those 10 websites, 27 different websites collected my data and “followed” me.   I don’t find that this number is particularly large or surprising. For each website I visited an average of 2.7 random websites follow me. I am guessing that the reason for this is that I visited websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Pinterest, and those websites are more popular and probably already have data saved.
The most surprising find was when I visited Sephora’s website. From Sephora a website called mediaforge.com followed me, and from THAT website 12 other websites followed.  That’s 12 websites that followed my data based off of another website that I’ve never gone to!

I think that this is really important information to be aware of, if you are an internet user. The majority of people probably don’t realize how the web is so interconnected and how what you do really isn’t private.  This is also important to know so that you understand how things such as viruses or trojan horses can potentially be introduced to your system.  To prevent this you should equip your device with some sort of virus protection software.

These websites follow you in order to make money off of you. They want to know what websites you frequent and what your interests are so that they can advertise specific things to you.  Other websites just want to collect and analyze data so that they can detect trends.

Lots of people have a problem with websites that follow you, and it’s easy to understand why. It can definitely feel like an invasion of privacy, and sometimes there are security issues that go along with it.  It’s important to be aware of the risks and possibilities, even when you’re doing something as simple and mundane as surfing the web.

 

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