Use Ghostery in Cliqz browser

After the acquisition of Ghostery, Cliqz now offers the Ghostery anti-tracking tool as a free add-on for the Cliqz desktop browser for Windows, macOS and Linux. In the future, it will be fully integrated with the anti-tracking technology developed by Cliqz.

You can install Ghostery via the “Security” menu in the browser settings, like the password manager LastPass, which is already supported as an add-on. Then you will find a small ghost (“Ghosty”) next to the URL bar. A click on it shows you an overview of the trackers found on the opened web page, which can then be blocked individually or all together.

Tracker run as scripts in the background within a website and monitor your browsing behaviour. They record, for example, which browser you are using, the resolution of your screen, the web site from which you came, and, if possible, the search term you used to find the current web page. The collected data is used by website operators to better adjust their offer to site visitors and to deliver targeted advertising. This is legitimate – but only to the point where you can be personally identified by the data.

Activate and configure Ghostery

This is where Ghostery, as well as the anti-tracking technology developed by Cliqz itself, comes into play: it does not categorically block all scripts, but identifies those that endanger the anonymity and privacy of the user. In the same way, Ghostery can also block other website elements (certain cookies, pictures, social media buttons, etc.) which are dangerous according to this definition. However, unlike Cliqz’s anti-tracking, all scripts and elements are permitted by default. You must take action and manually determine which of the hidden services on the visited Website you want to block. To make the decision easier, Ghostery provides some background information about the tracking elements found.

A count badge on the Ghostery icon indicates how many tracking services are active on the current page. The value is usually different from the number displayed in the Control Center (Q-Menu) of Cliqz because Ghostery indicates the number of tracking scripts found, while Cliqz shows the number of tracking requests. After clicking on the Ghostery icon, you will see a list of the trackers found, sorted by categories such as advertising, website analytics, social media, audio/video player, comments or customer interactions. There you can customise the settings for the respective page. Only you have full control over your data.

Differences between Ghostery and Cliqz anti-tracking

Ghostery uses regularly updated white- and blacklists, which contain permitted or blocked tracking elements. If you have decided to block certain trackers, they will not be loaded and be blocked when you visit a website, which prevents the tracker companies form receiving any data. Thanks to accelerated page loading times, you can surf the web faster. And because unwanted elements are not displayed, you can focus on the essential content. But the blocklist-based anti-tracking system used by Ghostery also has several shortcomings: On the one hand, too restrictive block rules can break site functionality. On the other hand, exceptions made to prevent site breakage may allow some privacy leaks. Another problem is that tracking companies can constantly change their URLs, domains, and methods to prevent blocking, and those generating the blocklists must update them manually in each case.

Anti-Tracking mit Ghostery und Cliqz

That is why Cliqz’s anti-tracking, in contrast to Ghostery, does not rely on curated blocklists, but pursues a dynamic approach with heuristic, algorithm-based recognition. Thanks to a combination of local and global evaluation of tracking data, it is able to filter out data values in queries that allow identification of the user. Instead of blocking the requests, it overwrites the values with random information and sends it back to the tracker. The result is the same as for Ghostery: The tracking companies can no longer identify the site visitor. However, the Cliqz technology has the advantage of reducing site breakage and working independently of the tracking method used. It also protects you from new tracking methods or specific measures to circumvent anti-tracking. You can find detailed information about our anti-tracking technology in our Techblog article.

The best of both worlds

In the medium term, we are planning a fully integrated product that combines the benefits of Ghostery and our own anti-tracking technology. It is intended to provide a speed boost as well as lower data consumption, while at the same time reliably protecting against any tracking methods designed to identify the user by personal data. Until it’s ready, you can use our anti-tracking integrated into the Cliqz browser and Ghostery as an add-on in parallel. If you have any questions, our support team will help you.