Ghostery Adds New Sneaky Promotional Messaging System


ghostery-logoGhostery is a popular privacy/anti-tracking add-on supporting major web browsers, including both Firefox and Chrome. However, Ghostery has not been without its critics and has elicited a fair amount of controversy along the way.

A recent update to Ghostery for Chrome, Safari, Opera and Firefox introduces a new option that is almost certain to add to the controversial nature of the extension. The option introduces a messaging tool, Evidon (the makers of Ghostery) call it ‘Consumer Messaging Platform’, which allows the company to message users directly from within the web browser.

According to Evidon, it will only be used for product announcements and promotions. Regardless, the issue here is that the option is enabled by default, for existing Ghostery users as well as new installs. Whether you update to the new Ghostery version or perform a new install, you are automatically opted-in:

ghostery-display options

To change this setting and disable the feature:

  • Go to Ghostery’s options – in Firefox click the Ghostery icon, then click the cog icon and then Options:

ghostery-options

  • Switch from the “General” tab, which opens by default, to the Advanced tab and uncheck the option “Allow Ghostery to show messages in my browser related to product features, updates, and promotions”.
  • Don’t forget to click the Save button at the bottom of the screen.

In this author’s humble opinion; given that the only way users would be aware of this new feature in Ghostery would be via a thorough investigation of all options, reading about it on a blog such as this, or happening to trip over the relevant article on the Ghostery site, it clearly should have been OPT-IN!


Recommended Potential Alternatives

Similar add-ons that I would recommend are Privacy Badger from the EFF, and uBlock Originfor Firefox, for Chrome.

 

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About the Author

Jim Hillier

Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at DCT. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele... as well as writing for DCT, of course.

4 Comments

  1. Ummm:
    You write:
    Go to Ghostery’s options – in Firefox click the Ghostery icon, then click the cog icon and then Option

    Where the hell is this Ghostery anyway..?
    Very vague about this, Jim.
    Is “Ghostery” there by default or is it always there and hidden somewhere?
    Or is it an option?

    I’m having trouble searching for it in my Firefox.

    • Colin – As per the opening paragraph… “Ghostery is a popular privacy/anti-tracking add-on supporting most web browsers”. As the name suggests, “add-ons” are not included in the browser by default and need to be installed separately by the user. If you haven’t installed it, you obviously won’t be able to find it. 🙂

      Sorry, but I assumed most would be familiar with the nature of add-ons. I should have made it clearer.

  2. Plug in’s, extensions, add-on’s, DLC’s..
    The list goes on.
    I guess that unlike W10 one can choose to “add” or “extend” or plug in” as one wishes?
    Thanks for clearing that up. It did sound at first as if it might be there by default.
    But I guess this Forum is for those a lot more tech savvy in terms than little old me.

    • I guess this Forum is for those a lot more tech savvy in terms than little old me.

      Not at all Colin. In fact, we aim to present content for all levels of proficiency, and for the less experienced in particular.

      It’s my problem, not yours. We sometimes forget that not everybody is as tech savvy as we are and this was just one of those times. As I said… I should have made it clearer.

      Remember; if ever you’re unsure about something, all you have to do is ask in a comment and we’ll sure do our best to clarify. 🙂