Lightbeam is a Firefox addon developed by Mozilla in an attempt to provide you with a simple and comfortable manner of visualizing first and third-party services that might be tracking you browsing habits, along with the relationship between these services and the sites you visit.
The trend nowadays on the web is to disregard user needs to the extent where tracking companies and services are no longer transparent, as they should be. Although not all tracking is bad, a big part of it certainly is and, unfortunately, there are few ways to reveal the ins and outs of this type of behavior.
Discover tracking-related relationships between visited websites and third-party services
Lightbeam comes across as a daring initiative that delivers an objective analysis of your online activity. It reveals the most hidden corners of the web, shedding some light into how tracking works and enabling you to interactively view active third-parties, as they connect to your data. The idea behind it is to continuously monitor the websites you visit, generating a real-time overview of all the parties that you connect to and which get connected to you.
View an interactive graph with watched and blocked sites
All of this information is comprised in a graph view, which displays the relationship between the sites you visit and third-party companies that have been detected during the process. The more sites, the larger the visualization diagram is, with emphasis on each request you make from Firefox. It displays visited and third-party sites, connections, watched and blocked sites, along with cookies.
View detailed information about visited websites
There’s also a list view with details on each visited site, including its type (e.g. visited, third party), prefs, first and last access time, along with the number of connected sites. You can view the server location in a world map, block any site with one click, hide it from the list, or ask the tool to watch any page. The collected data can be exported externally, in a JSON file, in case you want to review it later.
Activate an experimental tracking protection feature
The current version of Lightbeam also includes an experimental feature designed to prevent some websites from tracking your activity by blocking certain elements. However, the developer doesn’t specify the supported sites for this feature.
All in all, Lightbeam seems like a great asset that any user should take advantage of, considering the amount of information it reveals at no cost. It worked smoothly with the latest Firefox version during our tests.