Protecting Yourself Online

Awareness Tools

Lightbeam aka Collusion for Chrome
Tracks the websites you visit and who is tracking you on those sites. It visualizes all the websites and the trackers in a network diagram so you can see which trackers follow you accross multiple sites.
EFF project that shows you the types of information avalible to web pages you visit.
Project that lets you look at different types of information your browser provides such as GPS information and Javascript.
A Windows only application that lets you see web requests in flight after they leave your web browser.

Protection Tools

A tool that blocks trackers (not necessarily ads) from loading. The tool will also provide a list of the trackers blocked.
Adblock Plus
Blocks advertisements from loading. Will not block all of the ads, companies who pay a fee and only use non-annoying ads are still alowed through the filter.
Blur by Abine
Privacy Badger by the EFF
Blocks advertisements and blocks trackers.
Blocks the loading of Javascript, cookies, css files, frames, and images.
Blocks Javascript from running on the client computer.
Tor Browser Bundle
Version of the Firefox web browser that is setup to work with Tor by default with the most privacy friendly settings.


Google's Ad Settings
Opting out will prevent Google from showing interest based ads but will not prevent them from collecting data about you.
Your Online Choices
Provides a place where you can opt-out of behavioral advertising from participating companies.
Digital Advertising Alliance Consumer Choice Page
Provides one place where you can control your opt-out choices for Digital Advertising Alliance particiating companies.


The reasoning behind Web Cookies by Lou Montulli (the guy who invented web cookies)
Behavioral Advertising: The Offer You Cannot Refuse by Chris Jay Hoofnagle, Ashkan Soltani, Nathaniel Good, Dietrich J. Wambach, and Mika D. Ayenson.
Comments to the FTC for their Workshop on Cross Device Tracking. The report provides a nice summary of the issues around tracking. It also discusses the similarity to prior issues such as the do not call phone list.
GAO Report: Information Resellers
Report on the collection and sale of personal information amongst private-sector companies.
A Rewview of the Data Broker Industry: Collection, Use, and Sale of Consumer Data for Marketing Purposes (2013)
Report on data brokers put together for the US Senate.
What is a Cookie Worth? by Arslan Aziz and Rahul Telang
Research paper looking at how effective targeted advertising is. They find that using privacy intrusive information can increase ad effectiveness by over 30%.