Oct. 11, 2012 at 6:58 PM ET
We all know that sites track us across the Internet to some extent, but it's hard to tell which ones do it the most — and how much they're making from it. A new Web-based tool lets you do just that.
Privacyfix is a new site and browser plug-in for Firefox and Chrome that not only shows you which sites are tracking you and how often, but lets you change your settings right there with a click.
For instance, it told me that Facebook was tracking me on 89 percent (!) of sites — which isn't that much of a surprise, since the "Like" button doesn't need to be clicked to register your presence on a website. Same for the widgets that tell you which of your friends have liked an article or app.
I hit the 'fix' button, and it indeed instantly blocked Facebook from tracking me. A little too well, in fact: it broke some sites that used the popular Facebook commenting system.
It also gives a monetary value to how much your data is worth, though that's more of an estimate based on averages and your personal level of use; Google probably doesn't make $563.95 from my searches every year, as shown in the example here, but I've certainly sent a little their way now and then while shopping online.
The site is a project of PrivacyChoice, a small company that tracks advertising sites and technologies, selling their expertise to companies and making free tools available for users.
There's no substitute for being aware of your own settings, but Privacyfix might be a good way to remind yourself to stay vigilant — and it might just alert you to a few things you didn't even know needed fixing.
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.