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How to Block Companies From Tracking You Online

Lifehacker: “…Currently, there are two major methods of data-tracking online: The first, cookies, is on the way out, but pixel trackers are a bit more complicated. You’ve probably heard the term cookies before. These are little packets of information that allow websites to store data like your password, so you don’t need to log in every single time you access a website. But in addition to these “necessary” cookies, there are also third-party cookies that can track your browsing session, information that can be sold to data firms later. These are probably the most obvious way you might get tracked online. If you’ve recently visited a website that operates in the EU (or certain states), you’ve probably noticed a form asking you to consent to cookies. These are what those forms are talking about, and while clicking through them can be a brief annoyance, they’ve gone a long way to making cookies less sneaky and far easier to block. Throw in Google’s oft-delayed but still planned attempt to kill the cookie outright, and data brokers have had to get more clever. Enter the tracking pixel. These operate in a similar fashion to cookies, but use images rather than text. Essentially, companies can hide transparent or otherwise invisible pixels on your screen, and get pinged when your browser loads them, allowing them to track which parts of a website you’re accessing and when. It’s a real letter vs. spirit of the law thing, as while the principle remains the same, there’s little legislation on tracking pixels, meaning users who had gotten used to the government crackdown on cookies now have to go back to square one when it comes to data vigilance. Nowadays, some site elements even come bundled with their own scripts that can go further than cookies ever did…”

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