Disconnect is a Browser Extension to Help Maintain Your Privacy Online
Disconnect is an extension for Chrome, Safari, and Firefox that prevents sites like Digg, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo, and more from tracking you.
A lot of websites keep track of what you do online. They track pages you visit, what you buy, location data, and more. That data is used to serve you ads while browsing the web. You can prevent some of the data collection with a simple browser extension.
Disconnect Extension for Your Desktop Browser
Disconnect is an extension for Chrome, Safari, and Firefox that does just what its name says — it prevents sites like Facebook, Google, Twitter, Linked In, Yahoo, and more from using trackers to identify your online activities. It runs in the background and doesn’t compromise your browsing experience. Download Disconnect here.
Disconnect for Mobile
Note that Disconnect is also available as an app for macOS and iPhone, too. At the time of this writing, there is no universal Android version. There is the Disconnect browser for Samsung Galaxy phones, though.
Use Disconnect Extension
As you’ll see, you can unblock sites in real-time, just in case you think you need the blocked functionality, and you can also see what has been blocked. I’ll use the Chrome add-on for Microsoft Edge. But it works similarly in other browsers.
After you install the extension, you’ll have a new button next to the toolbar. It will display the number of trackers and the company’s they’re from.
Every time you visit a website, you can see the tracking scripts that Disconnect has blocked. If you want to whitelist a site you can. Just click Unblock site from the menu.
From the same menu, you can click the Visualize button to get a view of how all of the trackings are connected. This is an interesting view and puts all web tracking into perspective.
Disconnect for iPhone
You can use the Disconnect app on your iPhone to block tracking as well. Simply install the app and let it run in the background. It will automatically block tracking from installed apps on your phone in the background. And it can be used for research. For example, recently LastPass was found to contain seven different trackers on Android. And I was able to use Disconnect on iPhone to demonstrate the same trackers are present on iOS, too.
Another functionality you can toggle is the Secure Wi-Fi one, which encrypts data you send to some domains (like those belonging to Facebook or Google) to avoid malicious parties from eavesdropping.
All in all, the service can be pretty useful if you’re worried about your privacy. If you’re particularly worried about tracking, you can use this in tandem with the Do Not Track feature in browsers.
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