TheMarkup.org updated their tool, Blacklight, that tracks trackers on websites. I have written about it earlier this year to see which of the major news sites in the Philippines leak data to third-parties. With the updated tool (updated last month), I figured that scanning the same sites again might shine some light as to whether the news organizations changed for the better (less trackers) or worse.
Table showing the results of the scan done with the updated Blacklight toolMajority of the news sites scanned performed like they did in 2021, the first scan I ran. I am glad, though, that Manila Bulletin continues to improve - not only did it show a reduction in Ad Trackers and Third-party cookies, at least it does not leak to Google anymore, unlike the others.
Why is this important? As readers of these news sites, you need to know that your online reading behavior is being recorded and shared. The shared data is collected and sold by data aggregators. The data is used to create and fine-tune your online profile. This online profile is then used to target you with advertising, including, but not limited to, political advertisements. Whilst you think that it is all about personalized advertising, it is not - the same targeting is also used to persuade, influence, and/or change your views, or worse, radicalize. I won't even dig deeper on how it affects one's mental health.
How do you combat these data vampires? Make sure that your browser supports blockers (either built-in or via add-ons/plug-ins) and that you enabled it. Personally, I use Safari with its built-in tracking protections, and enforced by 1Blocker and DuckDuckGo. I also use hardened Firefox with Ublock Origin, and the DuckDuckGo browser. No, I don't use Chrome. Why? Check outContraChrome.com to give you some clarity why I avoid Chrome.
Users need to be conscious about their data - how it is being collected, shared, monetized and abused. Companies are hungry for your data, specially in this time of AI where your data is being (ab)used to train their models, often without your consent.