BOSTON (CBS) – From the minute we log into the computer we are being followed. But, now we can track who’s watching us. Mozilla has created “Collusion.” It’s add-on for Firefox that allows users to keep tabs on the companies watching our movements online.
By using Collusion you can see in an instant the websites, mostly advertisers, that are likely tracking you online.
This happens more than you might think. Eighty percent of the top 1,000 websites use some type of tracking tool. It’s all to target consumers with money-making ads.
“There is a benefit that the advertising and the products that you’re looking for are now coming to you,” says Harry Gold of Overdrive Interactive.
It’s called behavior tracking and it’s big business. Shopping for shoes online one afternoon? Expect to see ads for shoe stores over the next couple of weeks whenever you log in to your favorite websites.
And when you head to Google, a search of the worldwide web may really just be a search of your own backyard. Simply by knowing the location of your computer, a search of “pizza” on Google will automatically find restaurants in Boston.
Now add all the information Google knows about you from your Gmail, You Tube, or Google+ accounts and it’s “getting really personal,” says Gold.
Not only will the local pizza places pop up, but also the places your friends have recommended.
“This is something the consumers will not have control over,” explains Gold.
To try to take a little bit of control some browsers and websites offer a “Do Not Track” option.
The sites still store personal information but the chances of seeing targeted ads should drop.