Do you remember the movie Hackers? There is a scene in that movie where Mathew Lillard, in the role of Cereal Killer mentions Orwell’s 1984. Paraphrasing a quote from such a great movie would be a disservice to the writers so here is the quote:
I was browsing around on the net today and thought of this quote. Immediately I remembered a plugin for Firefox that I wanted to write about a while back, called “Collusion”.
What Collusion does, is map graphically every connection your computer makes to external servers while you are browsing the web. These can be advertising servers, web-servers, or any other type of computer. All websites that you browse show up as a little ‘blip’ that has the ‘favicon’ inside of it, and web-like arms extend outward from it, indicating a connection to another site from that page.
For example, if we load up GeekBlogTV with the AdBlock turned off, you can quickly see where my advertising is coming from, and who I am linking to. Let me grab a quick screenshot of just the connections that GeekBlogTV makes when you load it in the browser:
So that seems ok; I am only selling your soul to a few advertisers, DoubleClick and QuantServe, and you see a link to my personal blog, LinuxPurist.com, and my Twitter, and YouTube.
Not bad, but I wanted to see how many computers I’m flowing data through just in an average day. I went ahead and made a vector illustration of my browsing activities for 10 minutes. Initially, I had intended to keep tabs on my browsing activities for a full hour, but I had the sound alerts turned on, and after 10 minutes I was certain I had visited every last web site in the world by the sound of the little alarm that kept chiming every time a new data-point was plotted.
Here is a collusion snapshot of my world in 10 minutes:
Well folks, the proof is in the puddin’, as they say, and as you can tell by this little ten-minute snapshot of my browsing activities, there is a lot going on that we might not be aware of behind the scenes.
If you want to try this plugin for yourself, check out the links below for Chrome and Firefox. If you liked this article, please take a second to share, like, and subscribe!
thanks for reading, guys!