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Cliqz acquires Ghostery

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Cliqz, a German company owned by Burda Media and Mozilla, has acquired the popular anti-tracking tool Ghostery and the Ghostery brand.


We reviewed Ghostery several times here on Ghacks Technology News, the last time in September 2016 when the company behind the product released Ghostery 7 for all supported operating systems.


The company did make the news a year earlier when it sneaked a new promotional messaging system in the extension. It has been criticized as well for its GhostRank feature which records which ads are encountered and blocked.


The browser extension adds anti-tracking to the web browser. This is different from ad and content blockers which block advertisement, tracking and more.


ghostery 7


Ghostery concentrates on the tracking part, but may block some ads as a consequence as well. The extension gives you options to allow or block certain trackers

The German company Cliqz is probably not as widely known. You may remember the name from one of Firefox's Test Pilot projects of the same name, or if you tried the company's main product, a web browser with improved search capabilities and improved user privacy.


The Firefox Test Pilot project added some of the features of the Cliqz web browser to Firefox.


Cliqz acquired the Ghostery brand, extension, and a development team responsible for the extension today. Ghostery's parent company Evidon is not part of the deal. It's access to anonymous data that Ghostery users provide freely remains.


According to the press release on the Ghostery website, Ghostery remains an independent product that the team will continue to work on. The team plans to integrate Cliqz's anti-tracking technology into Ghostery. This adds heuristic blocking to Ghostery, which relies currently on blocklists to get the job done.


Ghostery will also be integrated in the Cliqz browser "immediately". Since Cliqz is a German company, Ghostery's data collecting will abide to the "stronger" German privacy laws. The company updated its privacy policy already to reflect the change.


Ghostery's development team plans to work closely with Cliqz according to the press release to improve Ghostery further, and find "concepts and opportunities".

Among these will be the trial implementation of the Human Web as the infrastructure that we use to collect data to improve our own products. It’s important to underscore how cutting-edge this technology is and the importance it plays in collecting data safely and responsibly from users in a way that completely guarantees their anonymity and privacy.

You can find out more about the Human Web on the Cliqz website, or check out the source code on GitHub directly.

Interested users may join the beta group to participate in some of these texts and experiments.


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Interesting news. Maybe Ghostery's gonna become a built-in feature of firefox?

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Ghostery actually tracked users and supplied data to ad companies.  There has been a lot of reports on data it captured from your computer and what it did with it but one thing that was for sure is they sold the information to ad companies to target users with ads.  A lot of people, me included, quit using it a year or so ago because of the actions that were proven at the time.  I would only recommend using it again if the new owners turn off any data collection completely. In the meantime I have much success running uBlock Origin, DisConnect and Privacy Badger.

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Using personal information to make the software better is understandable, using personal information to make money is not.


Lets see if they fix the privacy issues even further though.

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