The tracking of online user behaviour is a big deal. And I think it is one of these things that people are aware of – at least to some degree. But how much – and who is tracking your web browsing? Toolness.org wrote a tool, that enables you see just how much tracking is happening and by who. The image is a screen shot of visiting just five web sites – each dot is a separate site, i.e., 37 site in total, even though I only loaded five sites: mozilla.com, wordpress.com, cnn.com, arstechnica.com and amazon.com.
The red dots are the tracker sites (confirmed by privacychoice.org). The two separate dots are mozilla.com (grey) sending information to webtrendsline.com (red), while wordpress.com sends information to wp.com, youtube.com, gravatar.com and quantserve.com (red) (top right five dots)
The big one, which surprised me, created by visiting arstechnica.com, amazon.com and cnn.com – only three sites – and another 27 companies know about my web browsing! Most of whom I have never heard about. For example, loading an arstechnica.com webpage will send your browsing information to Twitter, Facebook, scorecardresearch, outbrain.com, 2mdm.net, addtoany.com, reddit.com, doubleclick.net, and Google.
And sites like scorecardresearch, facebook and doubleclick (owned by Google) collects from other sites. Basically, they are likely to know more about you than any government organisation and maybe even your friends.