Just like the “Do Not Call Registry” became popular with consumers to protect their privacy, consumers are now learning about Anti-Tracking Software to maintain the privacy of their computer activities. For those companies that continue to collect our personal data, I suspect they will continue to develop software to cancel out these programs; hence, the need to create updated software to cancel out their programs and so on. It’s like a vicious circle and part-time job for consumers to find ways to protect their privacy.
Upon reading recent news stories about how Facebook tracks almost everywhere he goes on the Internet, Jim Kress grew outraged. He also learned Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Adobe and many other companies also aggressively track his online activities. “I was very unnerved to discover the extent of all the other tracking that was done by nearly every site on the Web,” he says.
Like many consumers, he decided to do some homework about a powerful class of online tools and services — most of them free — designed to block online behavioral tracking. He began using a new free service called Do Not Track Plus from Internet privacy start-up Abine.
There is a grass-roots movement that Kress has joined. The movement where consumers are taking online privacy into their own hands began to grow late in the year and is expected to continue growing in 2012.
Suppliers of the best-known anti-tracking tools — Ghostery, Adblock Plus and TrackerBlock — all reported big jumps in usage in the second half of 2011. Ghostery, for instance, is being downloaded by 140,000 new users each month, with total downloads doubling to 4.5 million in the past 12 months, says Scott Meyer, CEO of parent company Evidon.
Adblock Plus has been downloaded more than 140 million times and is currently in daily use by more than 17 million Internet users worldwide, managing director Till Faida says.
Newcomer Abine, supplier of Do Not Track Plus, says its goal is to make anti-tracking as common as anti-virus for personal computing devices, according to CEO Bill Kerrigan, who formerly headed McAfee’s anti-virus global consumer business. (more…)