While some people don’t seem too concerned over the NSA’s surveillance tactics, the news has certainly unsettled others. If you fall into the latter camp, then you’ll be glad to know there are ways to keep your personal browsing habits private. And not all of them involve using a special browser or monkeying around with a multitude of settings.
Disconnect 2 may be one of the easiest ways to keep companies from tracking you. Version 1 of the software was named Lifehacker’s best anti-tracking extension last April, and the browser add-on comes with some pretty impressive cred. It was developed by a former Google engineer and a privacy-rights advocate/attorney, who claim that Version 2 can put the kibosh on more than 2,000 websites that track users. The toolbar displays real-time information on the sites that are trying to glean info on your searches and check-ins. And even when you intentionally and actively input your info, Disconnect 2 goes the extra step to encrypt that data.
The cost is a flexible pay-what-you-want fee, and users can choose to have some of that go toward a contribution to tech nonprofits like ProPublica, Center For Democracy and Technology, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Tor Project. So you can protect your data, and feel like you’re helping your favorite cause at the same time.
To date, Disconnect 2 only works with Firefox and Chrome, but Safari and Opera versions are in the works. Version 1 of Disconnect works on Firefox, Chrome, IE and Safari.