I was reading an article by Lorrie Cranor in the MIT Technology Review on how it’s difficult even for her to protect her privacy online.
I appreciate Lorrie Cranor’s work on privacy at Carnegie Mellon University. I have extensively cited her study of the length of privacy policies when I introduced ToS;DR.
However in this article, I was disappointed to see Ghostery mentioned. Ghostery is an browser extension supposed to help users against tracking and surveillance on the web. The main problem is that Ghostery is not released as Free Software1
Earlier on Twitter I quickly posted my frustration about this. People who promote web privacy should stop promoting Ghostery, as it’s proprietary. What’s their business model exactly?
In my earlier tweet I wrongly stated that the source code was not disclosed; but that’s not accurate. There is some code disclosed (I suppose it’s entirely readable and not obfuscated nor minified). But as you’ll notice, the license is “All rights reserved” so, basically, users have no rights.
Ghostery has been playing on the ambiguity for too long. This hypocrisy must stop. See these tweets from years ago…
this is good news RT @Ghostery: Currently, you can access Ghostery's code if you unpack the ext. We are still looking to open source, too— Jeekajoo (@jeekajoo) May 28, 2013
a.k.a Open Source. Both these terms designate the same set of programs. ↩