Mozilla, the open-source software group behind the popular Firefox Web browser, has released a new feature that will allow users to see which companies are monitoring their activity as they browse the Internet.
Companies monitor a person’s Web activity for all kinds of uses — targeted advertising, market research, even for use in political campaigning. The new feature, called Lightbeam, will allow users to visualize in real time who is getting access to their user data, and how, as they move across the web, The Next Web reports. “Using interactive visualizations, Lightbeam shows you the relationships between these third parties and the sites you visit,” Mozilla says.
Lightbeam is an updated version of an earlier experimental add-on called Collusion. It’s just the latest response to years of tensions between consumers and the companies that want to monitor their Web activity in order to cash in on their data. In addition to building a graphic depiction of where and with what methods your online activity is being tracked, Lightbeam will give the option of sharing your data with a larger database to build out a broader picture of how the online tracking works throughout the Internet.