Going into this experiment, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. After what was discussed in last Wednesday’s class, there seems to be a lot of shady, ‘behind-the-scenes’ web activity happening users are not aware of.
After browsing the web for 20 minutes with the add-on Lightbeam running, I was surprised to see I have connected to 62 third party websites even though I only visited 13 websites.
I didn’t expect surfing popular social media networks like Facebook, Tumblr and YouTube would have connected me to so many external websites, some of which I have never heard of. I assume some of these are ad networks or data brokers, collecting and tracking my info on the web. This just shows the different degrees of interoperability and how some websites prioritizes consumer privacy and security more so others.
I was pleased to see there were some websites I visited did not connect to third-party websites. Like the bank ATM example in Chapter 4 of Interop, bmo.com (Bank of Montreal website) did not connect me to any third party websites. With something so serious and personal, it was a relief to see that their web services are highly interoperable and highly secure.
On one hand, I feel like my privacy was infiltrated and my information was shared without my consent. But on the other hand, I know that I am on the web and everything is elusively connected. Growing up in the digital era where web 2.0 emerged, there’s always a common understanding in the back of my head that once you connect to the internet, things you do are monitored by higher power and privacy does not really exist. Like discussed in class, we essentially sign our privacy away in the terms and conditions when we join a social media network.
62 third party websites were connected in 20 minutes. I’m curious how many more if I left the addon running for a whole day, a week and a month?