We’ve heard all the catchphrases, right? Big government. Deep state. Big pharma. Yes, there is plenty of paranoia to go around. As our friend Dave Farrington says, “If everyone is out to get you, paranoia is the right attitude to have.”
Indeed. There are forces traversing the interwebs with a single purpose. To gather as much information about you as is possible before the government intervenes. Facebook, perhaps the world’s largest data slurper is in a public pickle regarding its data capture and use policies. Can you protect yourself from such slurping?
Here’s the deal in a nutshell. As you browse the interwebs– whether using a browser to search or visit websites, or if you use a variety of apps on Mac, Windows PC, iPhone or iPad, or Android smartphone– you are being tracked. Google tracks every website you visit. Facebook knows everything about you thanks to friends and family and all those apps and Likes you click.
As you traverse the interwebs, the technology giants slurp up the data trail you leave behind, then use the data to create a profile about you and your habits– politics, religion, jobs, family, what you buy, where you shop, what vacations you take, how many children you have (and their names).
Thanks to Facebook’s recent problems more of the public knows what is happening but most do not care. Facebook is free. It goes something like this: “Google is free. Alternatives suck. Don’t bother me.”
For the rest of us, we have alternatives which can help inhibit all that data slurping that goes on from Google and Facebook, and guess who is helping out? Opera. The browser. Firefox. The browser. Opera’s built-in VPN– virtual private network– helps to disguise who you are as you browse.
Firefox has options to hide your identity and prevent ad trackers from stalking you while you browse. What about Facebook? Mozilla’s new Facebook Container extension is exactly what you need.
Prevent Facebook from tracking you around the web. The Facebook Container extension for Firefox helps you take control and isolate your web activity from Facebook.
Think of it as a sandbox where Facebook is allowed to play. But cannot go anywhere else.
Facebook Container works by isolating your Facebook identity into a separate container that makes it harder for Facebook to track your visits to other websites with third-party cookies.
That’s not to say that Facebook doesn’t have enough data about you already, but it does make it more difficult for Facebook to figure out you belong to data they may already own.
You can log in and use Facebook normally when in the Facebook Container. If you click on a non-Facebook link or navigate to a non-Facebook website in the URL bar, these pages will load outside of the container.
How sweet is that?
Apple helps us out a bit by allowing ad blockers on Safari– Mac, iPhone, and iPad– and last year implemented a block to cross site tracking that advertisers hate.
How far does this protection go?
It is important to know that this [Facebook Container]extension doesn’t prevent Facebook from mishandling the data that it already has, or permitted others to obtain, about you. Facebook still will have access to everything that you do while you are on facebook.com, including your Facebook comments, photo uploads, likes, any data you share with Facebook connected apps, etc.
What has become sad about all this tracking going on is the extent to which users who do not want to be tracked have to go to prevent it. Ad blockers. Tracker blockers. Analytics blockers. Cross-site ad blockers. Facebook blockers.
Thanks, Mozilla. But this is all oh so crazy. Welcome to the 21st century where you are the product.