Reflections about my Lightbeam Graph

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This is the first time that I have ever installed Firefox on my computer and I am quite happy that I did because of the Lightbeam add-on. Lightbeam is a cool feature that allowed me to see the first party sites that I visited (the circles) and what third party sites (the triangles) are related to them. Some of the third party sites are related to a variety of the first party sites that I went to. For example, you can see that both Youtube.com and NBA.com are related to Twitter.com by way of the lines connecting the circles and triangles. This makes sense because Twitter allows people to do things such as share and like articles or videos on either of these sites. Expectedly, Google, Twitter and Facebook seemed to be third party sites to most of the sites that I visited which is why all of them are centered in the middle of the graph. This goes to show how the increase in the social media tools of the Web 2.0 has given us the opportunity to create an online identity and connect with people from around the world who might be interested in the same things that we are. I found it quite amusing though that Ryerson’s site is all by itself in the left bottom corner.

Lightbeam also has a toggle control that enables you to see which third party site is tracking your information and storing it as cookies on your hard drive as you go to first party sites. This is helpful because we can see which third-party companies are sacrificing our privacy by tracking our information and sharing it for commercial and other goals. For every one of the 14 sites that I visited, there were atleast 3 third party companies(purple lines from first party sites to third party sites) that were tracking my movements. This fact further encourages me to “think twice and click once” now that I know so much people are watching me.

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