At a Glance
- Excellent way to stop search engine profiling; Simple to use
- Doesn’t work with enough search sites
Protect yourself against data profiling with this free Firefox add-on.
The TrackMeNot Firefox add-on
takes a unique and creative approach to protecting your privacy
from search engines that can create profiles of you based on terms
you search for. Rather than hiding your searches from them in some
way, it takes the exact opposite tack: It inundates search engines
with a blizzard of background searches from you, so that no
practical profile can be built because there are too many random
searches. It generates those search terms from a group of RSS feeds
from sites including the New York Times, CNN, and
It does this for the most popular search engines, including Google,
AOL Search, Yahoo search, and Baidu
(China’s most popular search engine). If you’re a Chrome user,
don’t despair, because the Chrome version of
TrackMeNot works the same way. Every time it does a search, you see
a small indication at the bottom of the Firefox screen, showing you
the search term, and to which engine it’s been submitted. The
searches are submitted in the background, so that you can continue
using your browser as you would normally, with no effect on its
TrackMeNot gives you a great deal of control over how you use
it, including the search engines to which you want the searches
sent, the number of searches done per hour, whether queries should
be shown to you or remain visible, and so on. If you’d like, you
can edit the list of feeds it uses to generate the terms. Go to the
Options screen, and enter RSS feeds into the appropriate box.
All in all, TrackMeNot is a great, no-pain, no-cost tool for
helping ensure personal profiles about you can’t be built.
Note: This link takes you to the add-on’s page
at Mozilla.org, where you can automatically install the file into
your Firefox browser.