Use Ghostery to spy on ad networks as they spy on you
To the right of that big red arrow above is a tiny ghost icon. That’s Ghostery. It’s a browser add-on. By clicking on it after visiting a site — like, say, Huffington Post, now owned by AOL — I can see the names of ad networks and other companies that are surreptitiously trying to collect information about my online behavior.
Ghostery exposes the otherwise “invisible” web and allows people like me, my mother, my neighbor and other everyday web consumers to know more about how we’re being monitored online.
Most of us don’t fully grasp the technical dimensions of Internet privacy, so even with Ghostery in place, few people, including me, would be familiar with the obscure companies that turned up as we traveled across the web. For example, a trip to HuffPo reveals VoiceFive Networks, Tacoda and Quantcast. Ever heard of them? (If you work for Wired.com or the Wall Street Journal, be nice and don’t answer.)
On the other hand, the mere presence of Ghostery and the pop-up it generates each time I visit a new site is a constant reminder that even if my name and social security number aren’t being nabbed by marketers, much of the rest of my experience online is.