Mozilla, the makers of the FireFox web browser, and Google have recently announced plans to incorporate “Do Not Track” features into their browsers. What this means is that users are finally afforded a simple opportunity to opt out of having their Internet activities tracked by marketers.
While it is great to see these companies finally start to take consumer’s privacy seriously, these are by no means the only tools available to consumers. We’ve compiled a list of free or mostly free tools that are easy to install, either as an add-on to your current browser or as stand-alone software. We’ve also included tools that you can use to privatize you mobile computing experience, regardless of whether it is an iPhone, Blackberry, Android, or Windows Phone 7 device.
-Tor Project: Based on onion routing system employed by U.S. Naval and is network of encrypted connections, essentially hiding the user’s identities and online activities from being monitored,
- A graphical controller that is cross-platform is available for Tor software called Vidalia. Vidalia lets you see how much bandwidth you are using, active circuits, where circuits are connected on a global map, as well as full Tor configuration.
-Anonymizer: Anonymous web surfing, works for iPhone/Mac OS as well; subscription based, 79.99 a year, http://www.anonymizer.com
-PC Tools Privacy Guardian: free, unlimited trial software that securely deletes online Internet tracks and program activity records that are stored in your browser and on your computer:
Mobile Privacy Apps
-Symantec’s Norton Mobile Security App: works for free with Android; http://us.norton.com/mobile-security
-Lookout Inc: works on Android, Blackberry, and Windows Mobile phones; Provides security against viruses, malware, and spyware, in addition remote data wipe functionality, etc. It even helped capture a thief in Philadelphia!
-Whisper Systems mobile security suite for Android OS: http://www.whispersys.com
- RedPhone 0.3—encrypted voice for smartphone
- TextSecure 0.5.5—replaces standard text messaging application; stores sent or received text messages on an encrypted database on phone:
-PrivaCy: by Cydia for iOS: What people may not realize is that all those great apps that you download either from an App store or some other site are logging and sending information about you back to the companies. Cydia affords iOS users the opportunity to opt-out of these settings: http://apt.saurik.com/
-droidHunter: Protect/manage your information on your android OS phone, full security solution: http://www.droidsecurity.com/droidhunter/index.html
FireFox Extensions & Chrome Extensions
- Adblock Pro extensions: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/adblock-plus/
- For Google Chrome Browser: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/adblock/gighmmpiobklfepjocnamgkkbiglidom
- Ghostery: Track the “trackers” and receive a “roll-call of ad networks, behavioral data providers, web publishers, and other companies interested in your activities”
- BetterPrivacy: Prevents tracking by flash or other software developers.
- No Script: Allows java scripts and other scripts to be run only from your trusted domains, and makes FireFox even safer!
- FireFound: Tracks your stolen computer and allows you to remotely wipe the data.
Often the best defense against marketers is to adjust the settings on one’s computer or mobile device to enhance the user’s privacy from the beginning.
Mozilla FireFox users: