This article explains that a former Google employee, Brian Kennish, released a new plugin called Disconnect that helps protect your privacy online. The plugin was released for both Chrome and Firefox and it blocks over 2000 different websites that track you to provide targeted advertisements, including Facebook, Google, and Twitter. In addition, the plugin allows you to force websites to use secure HTTPS logins whenever possible. The plugin is available on their site, linked below, for a pay-what-you-want fee (including nothing) and you can even designate a percentage of the payment to go to charity rather than to Disconnect.
Kennish worked at Google in their advertising department and helped pioneer targeted ads. First of all, isn’t this a conflict of interest? I can’t imagine that Google likes him taking his knowledge of Google’s inner workings and then using it to prevent them from tracking users.
Secondly, is preventing sites from tracking you an ethical decision? The sites that you use on a daily basis make their money from ad-clicks and to get them, websites need to make sure their ads apply to you. Without revenue from ad-clicks, websites that we take for granted may decrease in quality or become a pay site after a certain amount of uses, such as WolframAlpha has done. I think that the privacy tradeoff is worth it to keep websites running in the long term, because it provides the most happiness to both parties. I can use their site, they can sell my data. Let me know what you guys think.