From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Ghostery logo.svg
Developer(s) David Cancel,
Felix Shnir,
Alexei Miagkov
Stable release 5.4.8 (Opera) September 16, 2015; 2 months ago (2015-09-16) (Mozilla Firefox) September 18, 2015; 2 months ago (2015-09-18) (Google Chrome) September 18, 2015; 2 months ago (2015-09-18) 5.4.8 (Apple Safari) September 17, 2015; 2 months ago (2015-09-17) 0.10.1 (Opera Next) July 20, 2015; 3 months ago (2015-07-20) 5.4.8 (Internet Explorer) September 17, 2015; 2 months ago (2015-09-17) 1.4.6 (iOS) February 24, 2015; 8 months ago (2015-02-24) 1.1.1 (Android) April 17, 2015; 7 months ago (2015-04-17) / August 28, 2015; 2 months ago (2015-08-28)
Operating system Cross-platform
Type Internet Explorer add-on/Internet Explorer extension,
Opera extension,
Firefox extension,
Chrome extension,
iPhone app (browser), Safari extension
License Proprietary[1]

Ghostery is a proprietary freeware privacy-related browser extension for Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Opera, and Apple Safari owned by the advertising and privacy technology company Ghostery, Inc. (formerly Evidon). It enables its users to easily detect and control HTTP cookies, which are objects embedded in a web page, invisible to the user, which allow collection of the user's browsing habits. Ghostery also has a privacy team that creates profiles of page elements and companies for educational purposes.[2]



Ghostery blocks HTTP requests and redirects according to their source address in two ways: cookie blocking and cookie protection (where available). When cookie protection is enabled, if a cookie is selected from Ghostery's list, it is not accessible to anyone but the user and thus cannot be read when called upon.[citation needed]


Ghostery reports all tracking packages detected, and whether Ghostery has blocked them or not, in a temporary purple overlay box.[3]

History and use[edit]

Originally developed by David Cancel, Ghostery was acquired by the advertising and privacy technology company Evidon in January 2010. Currently, through the use of a reporting function named "GhostRank" that users can opt into, Ghostery provides reports to Ghostery, Inc. about advertisers and data collectors, which Ghostery, Inc. then provides to advertising industry groups including the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the Direct Marketing Association, parts of the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA).[4] These agencies then use those reports to monitor how Online Behavioral Advertisers operate and, when needed, refer them to the Federal Trade Commission.


The company that owns Ghostery, Ghostery, Inc. (previously Evidon), plays a dual role in the online advertising industry. Ghostery blocks sites from gathering personal information. But it does have an opt-in feature named Ghostrank that can be checked to "support" them; Ghostrank takes note of ads encountered and blocked, and sends that information, though anonymously, back to advertisers.

Ghostery has received criticism over its business model.[5] This consists of collecting data about third party trackers through their browser extension software after the user opts-in, and then selling it to advertisers to better target their ads.[6] According to Ghostery, this data is collected and used only after the user opts-in, giving Ghostery permission in order to make commercial products so brands, not advertisers, can improve the user experience of their customers on their websites.[7]

According to Ghostery, Inc., Ghostery does not collect any information which could be used to identify users or target ads specifically at individual users. Additionally, Ghostery would collect data only when Ghostrank is enabled.[8] The collected data would be shared with the Better Business Bureau and offered to university students, researchers and journalists to support their studies.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "GHOSTERY". 
  2. ^ "Attacking Tracking: They're Watching You". Fox News. March 15, 2011. 
  3. ^ "How does Ghostery work?". 2015-07-23. Retrieved 2015-08-18. 
  4. ^ "Council to Enforce Online Tracking Principles". WSJ blogs. March 4, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Ghostery: A Web tracking blocker that actually helps the ad industry". Venture Beat. 31 July 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  6. ^ "A Popular Ad Blocker Also Helps the Ad Industry". Technology Review. 17 June 2013. Retrieved 5 May 2014. 
  7. ^ "Sharing Data, but Not Happily". NY Times. 4 June 2015. Retrieved 9 November 2015. 
  8. ^ "How does Ghostery make money from the add-on?". Ghostery, Inc. 2015-07-23. Retrieved 2015-08-18. 

External links[edit]