Introducing the TrackerScan Bookmarklet

June 29, 2010

Many people, particularly those concerned about privacy, are reluctant to install any sort of browser add-on, even those designed to give them visibility and control over online privacy.

For this reason, we’ve upgraded and renamed the TrackerWatcher service — now called TrackerScan — which shows you  tracking companies present on any webpage, including key privacy policies, oversight and opt-outs, with links to more detail in the PrivacyChoice Index. Now in addition to the Firefox add-on, we also now provide scanning through a “bookmarklet,” which is a small piece of code that you store in your browser bookmarks. By clicking the bookmarklet while on any page, you can call the code to scan for tracking companies on the page and see the report.

Not requiring installation of an add-on makes it faster, easier and less forbidding for cautious consumers. It also opens up this functionality to all browsers, not just Firefox.

What’s the catch? Because of the technical way in which some ads are delivered, a bookmarklet cannot see every tracking company present on page, and this is prominently noted for users. In our testing,  the TrackerScan bookmark sees well over half of the companies present on most pages.

Even without a complete view, better visibility can take some of the mystery out of online tracking. This should benefit websites that choose ad delivery partners with protective privacy practices and industry oversight, which in turn supports more effective self-regulation.

Please try TrackerScan and let us know what you think!

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