Privacy Badger 1.0 – New Ways to Stop Sneaky Trackers
EFF is excited to announce that today we are releasing version 1.0 of Privacy Badger for Chrome and Firefox. Privacy Badger is a browser extension that automatically blocks hidden trackers that would otherwise spy on your browsing habits as you surf the Web.
More than a quarter of million users have already installed the alpha and beta releases of Privacy Badger. The new Privacy Badger 1.0 release includes many improvements, including being able to detect certain kinds of super-cookies and browser fingerprinting—some of the more subtle and problematic methods that the online tracking industry employs to follow Internet users from site to site. Other enhancements in Privacy Badger 1.0 include: significant UI improvements, translation into 4 different languages (with more on the way), easier customization of your Privacy Badger settings, improvements to stability, and support for Version 1.0 of EFF’s recently announced Do Not Track Policy.
How does Privacy Badger work?
As you browse the Web, Privacy Badger looks at any third party domains that are loaded on a given site and determines whether or not they appear to be tracking you (e.g. by setting cookies that could be used for tracking, or fingerprinting your browser). If the same third party domain appears to be tracking you on three or more different websites, Privacy Badger will conclude that the third party domain is a tracker and block future connections to it.
For certain websites, if Privacy Badger were to block an embedded domain entirely it would break the site's core functionality. For example, if Privacy Badger were to block 'licensebuttons.net,' Creative Commons buttons would no longer load. In these cases Privacy Badger blocks the domain from setting or receiving any cookies or 'referer' headers, but allows the embedded content to load.
Putting an End to Non-consensual Browser Tracking
Advertising companies have made the non-consensual tracking of people's Web browsing habits alarmingly widespread. Privacy Badger is our answer to that problem.
Often, users aren't aware that they're being tracked around the Internet by dozens of different companies. Even if you know what’s up, changing browser settings to make yourself safe is essentially impossible. The advertising industry has proposed opt outs that are better described as “pretend not to track”, with an emphasis on hiding the symptoms of tracking rather than actually preventing it. But users still need a way to opt-out of the non-consensual collection of their data.
To be clear, EFF isn’t against websites seeking to build businesses around advertising. More business models means a more vibrant Web. But advertising cannot come at the expense of user privacy and the inviolable principle of consent. Until the online tracking industry changes its ways, the only option for users is to protect themselves by installing tools such as Privacy Badger.
Privacy Badger 1.0 works in tandem with the new Do Not Track (DNT) policy, announced earlier this week by EFF, Disconnect, Medium, Mixpanel, Adblock, and DuckDuckGo. Installing Privacy Badger also enables the DNT flag as a clear signal to sites that the user wants to opt-out of online tracking. Privacy Badger inspects third party sites for a commitment to honor that request under the DNT Policy; if it finds one, it will unblock that third party by default. That way, web services that do the right thing by users can continue to collect anonymous data or show anonymous ads, while those that don’t will be foiled by the Badger’s protections.
With DNT and Privacy Badger 1.0, Internet users have important new tools to block stealthy online tracking and the exploitation of their browsing history. Download Privacy Badger now, protect yourself against invasions of privacy, and help to build a cleaner, leaner and more privacy-friendly Web for all of us.