Blacklight: A real-time website privacy inspector

Ever wondered what kind of trackers are on any given site? Check out Blacklight, a web-based tool to reveal specific user-tracking technologies on a site.

I stumbled on this via The Markup and thought it might be interesting for privacy minded folks. (See: “How We Built a Real-time Privacy Inspector” from 2020.)

Screenshot of The Markup's "Blacklight" tool. Shows results for this website with 0 trackers.I ran it on a few sites just to see what I got back. GNOME’s extensions website was clean. Local news site, is crawling with trackers, cookies, monitoring and heaven knows what else. No ad trackers but Blacklight sussed out 2 third-party cookies.

According to the inspection results form, the average for ad trackers is seven, with three third-party cookies per site as the average. They’ll also tell you if a site seems to be capturing user keystrokes, has Google Analytics, etc.

Happily, no ad trackers or cookies found on this site. I’d wondered a bit if hosting would add anything unwanted, but it appears not.

Can’t promise the results are 100% accurate, but it’s interesting to get a quick glance under the hood for sites you visit frequently.

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