This browser add-on blocks invisible trackers and spying ads

Oct 5, 2018 18:32 GMT  ·  By  ·  Comment  · 

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) announced a Privacy Badger update designed to block link tracking in Google's  Search, Hangouts, and Docs web services.

Privacy Badger is a web browser extension created by EFF's development team for blocking invisible trackers and ads that spy on you while you browse the web.

The latest update of the Privacy Badger extension adds automated protection against Google's link tracking on its search engine, in the Hangouts web app, as well as in comments appended to Google Docs documents (Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Sheets).

Moreover, this is how a part of the changelog for Privacy Badger 2018.10.3 reads: "Added protection against outgoing link click tracking on Google Search, Google Docs and Google Hangouts."

"On quick inspection, the links in the search results seem normal: hovering over a link to EFF’s website shows that the URL underneath does, in fact, point to," says the EFF. "But once you click on the link, the page will fire off a request to, letting the company know where you’re coming from and where you’re going."

Since its 2018.10.3 release, EFF's Privacy Badger browser extension can now block link tracking on Google Search, Hangouts, and Docs

According to EFF's analysis, Google will use this same link tracking technique on all the domains Privacy Badger now monitors but adapted to the web browser or service you're using.

In web search, Google uses the HTML “ping” attribute while using Google Chrome and custom JavaScript scripts which replace the actual link with a hyperlink which will send you to your target redirecting you through Google's servers on Mozilla Firefox.

Things are different for the Google Docs suite and Hangouts, where all web links will automatically be rewritten to contain a redirect through Google's servers most probably logging every instance when each of the hyperlinks was clicked.

If you want to protect your privacy while browsing the web and you don't mind installing a web browser extension to do it, you can grab Privacy Badger for Chrome or for Firefox and let it fight off link trackers on your behalf.

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