Ghostery is a company that serves both everyday internet users as well as businesses and their interests. There are three basic principles behind Ghostery that interact with the idea of transparency. Those principles are to:
- Foster a more transparent Internet to help businesses grow and protect consumers
- Promote responsible data collection and set the industry standard for best practices
- Provide simple solutions for complex policy and business problems through neutral data and tools
While on the surface Ghostery’s principles seem standardly utopian, many have taken issue with the company and some of their practices in the past. Reported on in a 2013 article by LifeHacker, Ghostery faced friction because of their business with advertising companies. While Ghostery’s personal user solution is their add-on, they also provide business solutions where they claim to help businesses better advertise to their customers by showing them which ads you block and which you don’t. While many might see Ghostery’s plan as trying to help businesses grow while protecting customers, others see it at a tool for businesses to create better cookies and unblockable ads. Of course, we have heard more about the creation of unblockable ads recently with news of YouTube being able to work around the popular browser extension AdBlock Plus, detailed further by NetworkWorld.
Ghostery Add-on is a popular browser extension available for most popular web browsers. The goal of ghostery is to block companies that try to track you as you surf the web. With more than 2000 trackers, Ghostery boasts the largest tracker database available. The user gets to decide which companies they receive tracking from, providing a great tool not just for users but also businesses. Ghostery provides this simple video to explain for privacy tool.
A competitor that could have potentially given Ghostery a run for their money was Internet Explorer’s Tracking Protection Lists (TPLs). Built into the IE browser, TPLs allowed users to compile their own list or download premade lists of known trackers they wanted to block. The advantage to the TPL feature was that it was built into your browser, eliminating the need to search elsewhere, like Ghostery, for the service. Fortunately for Ghostery, TPLs were taken out of Microsoft’s newest browser Edge. We discuss the Edge browser at length in a previous article, How Microsoft Edge Addresses User Privacy.
About Ryan Jeethan
Ryan is a recent graduate of the University of Waterloo’s Arts & Business program focusing on UW’s unique Speech Communication program.