Last updated: October 21, 2017
When you are online, do you feel like you’re being watched? A visit to your favorite website to read an article or go shopping may seem innocent enough. The expectation is that the sites you visit log your IP address, and a cookie may be stored on your computer. We accept that. The reality, however, is that those visits may also share your private information directly with third parties unbeknownst to you. That may not come as such a shock to many. But just how many third parties are gathering data from your visits, and specifically who those third parties are, may indeed be a surprise. See who is tracking you without your knowledge with Lightbeam.
Lightbeam is a free add-on for the Firefox web browser. It is developed by Mozilla, the same organization that bring us Firefox. Once installed and activated, Lightbeam creates a real-time visualization of the third-party sites that are active on the primary (first-party) websites you visit. The more sites you visit, the more data accumulates and displays within the visualization. The add-on offers two visualization views — Graph and List.
Click on any website within the Graph visualization to view key information about that site, such as First Access date, Last Access date, Server Location, and how many third-party sites it has connected to since the First Access date. You may also choose Block Site to block the specified site from connecting to Firefox.
You may wish to exercise some caution when choosing to block a site. At the time you block a site, a warning dialog launches alerting you to the possible pitfalls of doing so.
When toggled to List visualization, the options to Block Site, Hide Site or Watch Site display. Check the check box for a specific website, or multiple sites, in the List to activate the choices. Block means that you don’t want that site to connect to Firefox at all. Hide means that you do not want the information about the selected site(s) to display in the visualization. Selecting Watch means that you want to highlight the site(s) in the visualization.
To get started with Lightbeam, visit Mozilla Add-Ons with Firefox to download it.
Click the green Add to Firefox button in Lightbeam’s add-on splash page. At the Software Installation dialog, verify that Lightbeam is the item you have asked to install, then click the Install button.
Once installed, launch Lightbeam by clicking the Lightbeam icon in Firefox’s toolbar area to the right of the Search box. Lightbeam will load in a new Firefox tab. As you visit websites with Firefox, real-time data visualizations will display. With regard to the data that is used to produce Lightbeam’s visualizations, Mozilla assures users that it is only stored locally on your computer:
All info generated and used for Lightbeam’s visualizations and features are only stored locally on your computer. You can save a copy of your connection history at any time, which is also where you can see the specific data collected by the add-on. You may also reset Lightbeam to erase your locally stored connection history, disable it to stop data collection or uninstall it to instantly remove all locally stored data related to Lightbeam.
Thank you for visiting Tech Help Knowledgebase to learn how to find out who is tracking you without your knowledge.