The case was one of the biggest data scandals of 2016! Web of Trust (WOT) with 140 million users is one of the most popular browser extensions – turned out to be a nasty data spy or as the Germans called it “Datenschleuder” with translates to Sling Shot. The service collected information about the browsing habits of its users and profited by selling these data to third party companies.
The “trust” in the name was misleading because actually this “web of trust” should warn against dangerous sites and unreliable shops. The outrage was correspondingly strong. How can a web service deal with user data? My Opinion, the discussion about Web of Trust is hypocritical because this scam is commonplace on the internet. Compared to the big data octopuses of the Silicon Valley, WOT turns out to be more like a mini-octopus.
Microsoft’s so-called SmartScreen filter is an integral part of Windows since version 8, the in-house browser edge and Internet Explorer will benefit from the function. The task of the filter, just like Web of Trust, SmartScreen warns, among other things, against fraudulent phishing sites. For this to work, Microsoft needs to know which website the user is about to visit. So advance, Windows sends this information to a Microsoft server, on which then the called page is checked against a blacklist. This means no matter whether diseases, gambling or porn sites – Microsoft knows, thanks to the Datenschleuder SmartScreen, of users visited Web pages.
Of course, the Google Chrome browser also has excellent phishing protection (“protect me and my device from harmful sites”). Now, quite a few users are probably logged in either in Windows with their Microsoft account or in Chrome with their Google ID. This means these users are inherently identifiable. An army of millions of users shares personalized activities of their browsing habits to profit-oriented companies.
So Google, just like Microsoft, has the same data as the Web of trust. Only the range is dramatically higher, and much worse the data has immediate personal references. Google monetizes this information, which is their business model and nobody cares about this undeniable reality. Why should you care about a little plug-in like the Web of trust and yet ignore the megacorporations? Is it ignorance or blindness?
Welcome to the Web of Distrust, the Net of suspicion! The Datenschleuder Web of Trust is just one supplier of many vendors who mislead us with a supposed protection function of user data and yet it makes them money. Such practices are a huge deal on the Internet, and few seem to want to admit it. The culture of free services has obviously clouded many people’s minds. There is nothing in life for free, that also applies to the web. The currency here is user data, preferably personalized with real names. Who wants to put up with it and reveal their complete private life? Please, I do not want it!
If you want to make sure that your privacy is protected on the Internet, you can use the eBlocker – the smart solution hides the IP address and blocks data-gathering trackers and advertisements – for all devices in your home network.Back to Category Overview