Obviously, online activities are mostly tracked primarily for the purpose of advertising. What we can’t control is how much information gets tracked and the possibility of having important information on the wrong hands. Collusion add-on however brings a whiff of relief.
Collusion is a Mozilla Firefox add-on that identifies the sites you visit on your browser by their URLs and shows which sites may be tracking you. The add-on actually creates, in real time, a graph connecting all the cookies that get deposited on your browser as you surf the web. It also reveals whether they are behavioral tracking cookies or non-behavioral tracking cookies.
How to Get Started With Collusion Add-on
Collusion add-on demystifies how you are being tracked and will ultimately give you the ability to disable the cookies used to track your online behavior. At present, Collusion add-on only shows visualization of your trackers. The ability to disable the activities of trackers is expected to be included very soon.
How to Install Collusion Add-on
Collusion add-on is very easy to install, and it does not require restarting your browser after installation. That means, you can install the add-on right away and continue browsing without interruption.
1. To install Collusion add-on for Firefox, Click here to get to their Webpage where you will find a brief information about the add-on and the download link. You are allowed to first view a demo or download the add-on directly. To download Collusion add-on, click on the green button to your right, labeled “Download the Collusion add-on for Firefox”.
This will direct you to the download page, where you can instantly download and install the Collusion add-on. On this page, you can also read user reviews for the add-on.
2. The process of downloading and installing Collusion add-on takes only a few seconds to complete. When the download page fully opens, click on the yellow button labeled “Add to Firefox”.
On clicking that button, you will see a message informing you that Collusion add-on is downloading.
3. Next, you will be prompted to install the add-on. Click on the highlighted button, labeled “Install Now”.
Collusion add-on installs in seconds. After you click on “Install Now”, almost immediately you will see a message informing you that “Collusion has been installed successfully.”
Sometimes, Collusion would not launch automatically after installation. In this case, you have to enable the add-on manually.
What to Do if Collusion Add-on Does Not Launch Automatically
If an Add-on bar showing a white dot (at the right hand corner) does not immediately appear at the bottom of your browser, you will have to manually enable the add-on.
1. To manually enable Collusion add-on, click on Firefox Menu at the top left corner of your Firefox browser.
2. Select Add-ons from the menu displayed.
This will launched a new tab in your browser where you can enable Collusion add-on.
3. From the menu options on this tab, select “Extensions” and then “Enable” for Collusion.
The Add-on bar may not still display at this point.
4. Click on Firefox menu just as you did in Step 1 above, but this time scroll to options and select Add-on bar.
An Add-on bar will now appear at the bottom of your browser.
How to Use Collusion Add-on for Firefox
1. Once Collusion has been installed successfully and the Add-on bar is enabled, a bar will appear at the bottom of your Mozilla Firefox browser.
To close the bar at any time or for whatever reason, you can click on “X” at the left hand corner of the bar.
2. Now, look towards the right hand corner of the bar, you will notice a little white dot with a red boundary. You have to click on this “white dot” to launched a new tab where you will be able to view the activities of cookies on your browser. Every time you want to monitor the activities of trackers on one or more websites, click the white dot and a new tab will open for monitoring changes caused by trackers.
3. When the tab opens, click on “Reset Graph” to get a blank page before you continue browsing.
4. Now, continue browsing on other tabs or windows and intermittently return to this tab to monitor your trackers. To try out how Collusion works, visit one or more news site and watch how the sites give advertisers access to your data. .
Each white dot you see represents a website. You can move your cursor to the white dots to know which sites they are and what sites get access to your data through them.
The dots with red boundaries are confirmed trackers, that is behavioral cookies. Others (non-behavioral cookies) have the capability to track you but may not be tracking you.
You will notice a glow on some of the dots. These are the sites that you have personally visited. The rest of them are trackers that were linked from the sites you visited.
Click on “site info” on the left hand side of the Collusion page to also see a list of the sites that are tracking you.
The tracking report (on the Collusion page) may get really complex by the time you have visited a lot of sites. To prevent confusion, hover your mouse over any of the websites you have visited to make the trackers associated with that website more prominent.
Also note the changes on “site info” on the left hand side of the collusion page when you point your mouse to specific white dots. You will see the name of the website and all the names of the sites connected to that website with a bit of explanation about what you are seeing.
So, you can now track all the websites that are tracking your online behavior; and Collusion add-on even reveals the other sites that get access to your data through the news sites you visit regularly.
Is Online Behavior Tracking Bad?
This is really important. Tracking is not necessarily a bad thing for website owners. Sometimes, tracking helps websites owners give you more appropriate contents and improve your online experience. However, Collusion is very useful, because it helps you detect the websites that are tracking you without your consent.