Mozilla Rolls Out Online Tracking Tool for Improved Data Gathering Transparency

With the aim of boosting consumer trust by improving transparency over how free-to-access websites are funded, Mozilla Firefox has launched a new service called 'Lightbeam' to help online users understand how advertisers collect data about their web surfing habits.

The online data-tracking tool, formally unveiled this weekend, is a web browser add-on that reveals to Firefox users which third-party web companies are gathering data about them based on what websites they have visited.

Once downloaded, Lightbeam creates a record of these activities, and then compiles the events in a graphical format to display interactions between the websites a user intentionally visits, as well as the third-party sites they visit unintentionally but which still track their behaviour.

Mozilla's global privacy and public policy leader, Alex Flowler, explained that the objective of the Lightbeam service is to help solve challenges posed by transparency issues around online behavioural advertising (OBA), particularly how consumers are profiled by third parties.

Fowler commented: "The diverse range of third-party companies are an integral part of the way the Internet works today. However, when we're unable to understand the value these companies provide and make informed choices about their data collection practices, the result is a steady erosion of trust for all stakeholders."

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