The Purple Box - The Official Ghostery Blog Internet Privacy Browsing Tool Tue, 24 Mar 2015 16:05:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 New! Ghostery v4.0.1 for IE Tue, 24 Mar 2015 16:05:34 +0000 release-notes

Hello Ghostery users on IE!

We have a release ready for you here that should solve a few issues reported. We really appreciate all the feedback we have received. We couldn’t do it without you!

Here is what we fixed:

  • Fixed the “Show Badge over Icon” display
  • Solved multiple foreign language display and translation issues
  • Fixed a display issue when page is refreshed
  • Solved a crashing issue for users on IE8
  • Fixed a display issue within the alert bubble not having trackers crossed out.
  • Added Ghostery build number to the versioning within Options > About page.

As always, we appreciate your feedback., so please, drop us a line or visit our forum. And remember… If you love Ghostery,  and want to help us out, please join our panel by opting-in to Ghostrank!

~Happy browsing!

]]> 0
Ghostery Privacy Browser and Blackphone Team Up! Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:20:54 +0000 blackphone-purp-box

Hello All in Ghostery land!

Today we are really excited to announce our partnership with Blackphone. For those of you who haven’t heard about Blackphone, its the first mobile device designed with your privacy and security in mind. You can read more about the phone itself here.

In 2014 Silent Circle created Blackphone – the world’s first private-by-default smartphone. Early this year saw the launch of the Silent Store, which features curated apps reviewed by Silent Circle for privacy and security practices. Each app’s requested permissions are listed explicitly, so that users can download with confidence while exploring new apps and services.

The Ghostery Privacy Browser combines the utility of a fully functional mobile browser with the same privacy features Ghostery provides with its desktop browser plugin. In addition to features and functionality common to leading mobile browsers, the Ghostery Privacy Browser delivers advanced privacy features such as;

  •      Displays a list of trackers and the ability for individuals to block various digital tools and social widgets
  •      Blocking new trackers by default
  •      Whitelist regularly used sites for faster performance

Users of the Blackphone’s PrivatOS operating system and communication tools now have access to the most private and informative mobile web browser.

“As part of providing a secure mobile experience it is important to provide a secure browsing experience.  Ghostery provides Silent Circle’s Blackphone customers a means to have a private and transparent browsing solution,” said Daniel Ford, D.Sc., Chief Security Officer of Silent Circle.

The Ghostery Privacy Browser for Blackphone can be downloaded at the Silent Store.

Give the app a try and give us your thoughts and questions here in the comments, at our support forum, on Facebook and Twitter, or email

And remember…If you love Ghostery , and want to help us out, please join our panel by opting-in to Ghostrank!

Happy Browsing!


]]> 0
The Data-Driven Future Wed, 11 Mar 2015 17:18:04 +0000


It’s 2015, which means that all through the year – but especially in October – people will be talking about Back to the Future 2’s view of the future. We’ll laugh about double-ties and hydroponic pizza, but marvel at how the movie would know about a baseball team in Florida and video calls. Even though we’d really like to chime in with our complaints about how we’ve been robbed of our hoverboards, we thought we’d take a different look at predictions and trends more up our alley – the future of data.

Science fiction writers haven’t only been wondering how skateboarding and pizza consumption would evolve. Both classic and modern science fiction writers have explored how data collection, surveillance, and quantified identity will impact our lives in years to come. We broke down some of our favorites with Dystopia on the Horizon: Reviewing Fiction of the Future.

The most clear example of the future of data is in the rise of wearable computing – we’re now taking data collection devices to more places and preserving more of our activities than ever before. For a look into where these devices got their start – and where the wearable is going – check out Once and Future Data – a Wearable Computer Timeline.

Finally, you don’t have to wait for time to pass to get an idea of the future of data. Some extraordinarily intelligent people are already at work analyzing, predicting, and shaping the way we’ll use data in our future. We profile a few of these influential thinkers in our Future of Data Club.

Innovation is difficult to anticipate by definition – and predicting the future of technology is a tricky endeavor at best. But if we ignore trends in the way we collect and use data, we run the risk of being surprised in areas where technology has overstepped. What are some of your predictions for a data-driven future? Leave us a comment, post on our Facebook page, or join our #FutureOfData conversation on Twitter.

]]> 0
Once & Future Data Wed, 11 Mar 2015 17:17:28 +0000



]]> 0
The Future of Data Club Wed, 11 Mar 2015 17:16:48 +0000


Want to be in on how the future of data right now in your own era? Check out the work of these forward-thinking data professionals. Each of these experts has demonstrated the ability to look ahead at how technological advances will intersect with our culture – and the capability of shaping how we arrive there.

Julie Brill, FTC Commissioner and Consumer Advocate

Simply put, there’s nobody that cares more about consumer privacy in a better position to actually preserve it besides Commissioner Brill. Since 2010, she’s been a tireless activist for everyday people as they adopt more and more data-collecting technology in their everyday lives. As it says in her official FTC biography, she “supports the creation and implementation of mechanisms to give consumers better information and control over the collection and use of their personal online information.” You can follow Commissioner Brill on twitter, and catch up on her speeches, articles, and testimonies. In particular, we recommend her 2013 piece in the Washington Post: “Demanding Transparency from Data Brokers”.


Thad Starner, Contextual Computing Innovator

Biographies toss around the word “pioneer” all the time, but it truly applies to Dr. Starner. Decades before Fitbits and Smart Watches, Dr. Starner was rigging up homemade computers, controlling components, heads-up displays, and the software to make it useable. Along with like-minded colleagues at MIT, they pushed the boundaries of how computing can intersect with our everyday lives. Dr. Starner continues to inform the world of wearable computing – he was a member of the original Google Glass design team and is a founder and director of the Contextual Computing Group and Georgia Tech. You can follow Dr. Starner’s work on his university page, and check out a very interesting history of his endeavors in wearable computing on the NPR Invisibilia podcast (Episode #6 – Our Computers, Ourselves).


Jaron Lanier, Virtual Reality Pioneer and Computer Science Philosopher

Jaron Lanier is a multi-faceted individual. Besides being one of the minds that defined the early Internet, he also directs film and composes and performs classical music on rare and antiquated instruments. But Lanier would bristle at the idea that a “multi- faceted person” is something of note – his philosophy rejects the idea of humans as biological computers, highlighting the heavy dependence that software has on individual people. This philosophy extends to the Internet and information collectives like Wikipedia. His 2010 novel You Are Not a Gadget was a hit among heavy thinkers and the mainstream user alike, and was perfectly illustrated by his radical suggestion that no one tweet during his talk at South by Southwest. “I’d like them to try it as an experiment in alternate consciousness,” he reportedly told organizers. It’s the kind of thing Lanier can say seriously and back up with serious thought. His latest book is titled Who Owns the Future, and is an important look at the value of the individuals that make up the world’s great networks.


Bina48, Semi-sentient Robot
You can’t think of the future of identity and its intersection with technology without talking about Transhumanism, the ideology that seeks to further the human condition through the considered adoption of technology. And there’s no better example of transhumanism in today’s world than Breakthrough Intelligence via Neural Architecture or BINA48. BINA48 is a robot imbued with an artificial intelligence built from a reconstructed human consciousness, both based on Bina Aspen Rothblatt (wife of Martine Rothblatt, founder of SiriusXM radio and United Therapeutics). BINA48 combines the kind of problem-solving AI that is familiar to experiments like IBM’s Big Blue with a articulate bust and – perhaps most notably – a social profile. You can learn more about BINA48 all over the place (including an interview with NY Times reporter Amy Harmon), but for best results follow iBina48 on Twitter… and prepare to expand your definition of “person”.

]]> 0
Dystopia on the Horizon Tue, 10 Mar 2015 13:55:33 +0000 Dystopia-on-the-horizon_v2

The future is the favorite setting of Science Fiction. Undersea exploration, laser guns, space travel, and handheld computers were prevalent across the pages of paperbacks long before they were actually part of our lives. The authors of these works show an uncanny ability to look ahead and imagine what our lives might become. How did they do when it came to conceptualizing our data-driven future? We selected a few of our favorite sci-fi fantasies and examined them in the harsh light of reality. 

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (2011)

Synopsis: Set in 2044, Ready Player One combines the virtual and real-world adventures of young Wade Owen Watts. Like many others seeking to escape the mournful realities of a world in the midst of a global economic depression and ecological ruin, Wade spends most of his time in the virtual reality world of the OASIS – a global network service that Cline imagines as a wildly successful combination of AOL, Facebook, and Second Life. When the creator of OASIS reveals a posthumous virtual scavenger hunt that holds a prize of great wealth and control of the OASIS itself, Wade and his friends represent the free and open nature of the OASIS in a race against corporations who would control it for profit.

Its Data Future: Ready Player One imagines a future where your online persona is actually paramount to your real-world identity. Accordingly, much of a person’s physical needs are tied to “virtual reality”, driven in large part by the digitizing of the world’s dominant currency. It illustrates the complications of representing one’s identity in a system outside of your personal control, particularly when characters encounter the especially grave consequences of hacking and fraud in a highly virtual world. 

How Non-Fiction Is It?: Cline wrote his story in the not-so-distant past of 2011, so he had some context on the way our world was quickly moving toward quantified identity. But he gets full marks for imagination with an ambitious view of a future that includes readily available virtual reality and digital currency – which seemed very distant in 2011 but now seem like inevitable technological advancements on the near horizon. Additionally, Cline’s dystopian world racked by the consequences of a generation who cares more about protection of a virtual environment than the one around them seem particularly prescient. Ready Player One is a fast-paced sci-fi story that paints the future in harsh lines while overlaying loving tones of nostalgia. It suggests an exciting world unbound by cultural and geographic divides while warning about the pitfalls of giving over to technology completely.


Minority Report, A Short Story Collection by Philip K. Dick (2002)

Synopsis: This collection features several stories where the sci-fi master Philip K. Dick tackles one of his favorite subjects – how perception relates to identity. Stories like “Imposter”, “The Electric Ant”, “What the Dead Men Say”, and “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” all focus on what makes up a person and how they maintain their identity – or, more broadly – their greater sense of self. This collection is named after a real classic – “The Minority Report” (and was released the same year as the film the story inspired). The film (which we’ve talked about before), adds a level of intrigue on top of Dick’s eerie ideas about precognition by imagining a very robust and intrusive use of data in our everyday lives. This cements the notion that when a person’s life is quantified and can be represented in predictable patterns, the concept of free will is at stake. 

Its Data Future: Dick was never one to look ahead cheerfully, and these stories are not exceptions to this trend. While many of these tales explore theories of identity at a high, fantastic level, the ideas are applicable to a foreseeable future where we can be identified as a series of data points. These stories would warn us away from turning who we are into an easily digested profile available from a web browser.

How Non-Fiction Is It?: Minus some of the more overt elements associated with science fiction – aliens, androids, etc… many of the musings about the technological impacts on identity ring true. What we like, who we associate with, how we communicate, and where we spend our time are all readily available today. It does not take Philip K. Dick’s extraordinary imagination to envision a future much like the one he designed.


Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (1949)

Synopsis: In a war-torn future, a totalitarian government equates security with conformity to an unwavering party line. “Thoughtcrimes”, defined as any notion that might conflict with governmental edicts, are punished by ideologues dedicated to Big Brother, the enigmatic (and possibly fictitious) leader of the ruling party. The government’s most potent weapon is unyielding surveillance – notably through hidden cameras and microphones connected to ubiquitous “telescreens”. 

Its Data Future: Orwell shows the power a state can wield with observation. His story argues that privacy is powerful, and that the information that we withhold can be as precious as rare metals or, more precisely, singular works of artistic genius. The world he describes, in which we are forced to surrender even the most intimate details, is a bleak landscape of paranoia and false security.

How Non-Fiction Is It?: Simply put, there is a reason that words like “Orwellian” and “Big Brother” have made it into common use. Once thought of as the stuff of conspiracy theories or nightmare worst-case scenarios, recent discovery of widespread data collection by governments all over the world have thrust Orwell’s ideas back into the spotlight, and his magnum opus of paranoia reads more like embellished prophecy than outright fiction.



Interested in some non-fiction musings about the future of our data-driven world by modern authors? Check out these recommendations, and we’ll look back in a couple of decades to see how these thinkers stack up against their fictional counterparts.

Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier (2013) —“Lanier has predicted how technology will transform our humanity for decades, and his insight has never been more urgently needed. He shows how Siren Servers, which exploit big data and the free sharing of information, led our economy into recession, imperiled personal privacy, and hollowed out the middle class. The networks that define our world—including social media, financial institutions, and intelligence agencies—now threaten to destroy it.” 

The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr (2010) —“‘Is Google making us stupid?’ When Nicholas Carr posed that question, in a celebrated Atlantic Monthly cover story, he tapped into a well of anxiety about how the Internet is changing us. He also crystallized one of the most important debates of our time: As we enjoy the Net’s bounties, are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply?” 

The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail – but Some Don’t (2012) —“Drawing on his own groundbreaking work, Silver examines the world of prediction, investigating how we can distinguish a true signal from a universe of noisy data. Most predictions fail, often at great cost to society, because most of us have a poor understanding of probability and uncertainty. Both experts and laypeople mistake more confident predictions for more accurate ones. But overconfidence is often the reason for failure. If our appreciation of uncertainty improves, our predictions can get better too. This is the ‘prediction paradox’: The more humility we have about our ability to make predictions, the more successful we can be in planning for the future.”

]]> 0
New! Ghostery v5.4.2 **UPDATE Tue, 24 Feb 2015 12:36:43 +0000 release-notes


** Ghostery v5.4.3 Update

We were seeing some issues with the Adobe Typekit Surrogate script.. so we fixed that. 5.4.2 update descriptions below are still in production.


Hello everyone in Ghostery land!

We have a brand new release hot off the press for you!

The biggest feature of this release is our re-design of the surrogate engine.

What is a surrogate?

Surrogate scripts are non-tracking scripts that we inject when Ghostery blocks content from loading, in order to make the content function appropriately. Previously, you may have been watching a video that couldn’t work without a certain element that tracks you. Your choice, while using Ghostery, was either to allow tracking and view the video or to not watch the video at all. We’ve upgraded our surrogate engine from BMW to Tesla.

Now if we could just figure out the Flux Capacitor we’d be on a whole new level…

We fixed the problem of Ghostery wiping out the settings in the options menu and a few other bugs. Here is the list of changes for 5.4.2.

New Features:

  • Add SeaMonkey support
  • Redesigned surrogate method to improve success rate

Bug Fixes:

  • Settings not persisting related issues
  • Old Panel in Firefox has wrong translation keys
  • Fixed blocking HookLogic on

Your current version should auto-update unless you have turned that off from your browser’s menu, but if not, you can get the new version HERE.

As always, we appreciate your feedback., so please, drop us a line or visit our forum. And remember… If you love Ghostery,  and want to help us out, please join our panel by opting-in to Ghostrank!

~Happy browsing!

]]> 0
New! Ghostery v1.1 for Android Wed, 18 Feb 2015 19:00:45 +0000 release-notes

Hey! Ghostery users on Android… Today is YOUR day!

We are excited to release Ghostery 1.1 for the Android Ghostery Privacy Browser. We can’t thank you all enough for your great feedback! We couldn’t have done it without you. We have added a bunch of new features as well as fixed a few things.

Here’s the list..


  • Site-specifc unblocking
  • Find text in page
  • Enable/disable Javascript
  • Set Ghostery as your Default Browser
  • Added a “Close All Tabs” button
  • Add to Home Screen
    •  requires an additional permission “Install Shortcuts”
  • Added an “Exit App” option
  • Added an option to Clear History/Cookies on Exit.
  • Added Multi-language support (22 available languages)

Bug Fixes:

  • Clear history settings now remembered
  • Improved behavior when opening from other apps
  • Bookmarks no longer open in new tabs
  • Fixed some tab closing issues

You can read a review of the new browser from Android Authority, and download it from the Google Play and Amazon app stores. Give the app a try and give us your thoughts and questions here in the comments, at our support forum, on Facebook and Twitter, or email

And remember…If you love Ghostery , and want to help us out, please join our panel by opting-in to Ghostrank!

Happy Browsing!


]]> 0
Ghostery 5.4.2Beta for Firefox and SeaMonkey! Thu, 05 Feb 2015 22:57:16 +0000 release-notes


Howdy all you Firefox and SeaMonkey users!

We have a beta release that we’d love for you to test drive.  Here’s what we’ve worked on:

New Features:

  • We added SeaMonkey support
  • Added a new notification screen to alert users

Bug Fixes:

  • That pesky bug of Ghostery losing all the settings when you restart.. yeah.. we fixed that.
  • The old panel in Firefox had the wrong translation keys… so we fixed that too.

You can install the beta version for Firefox here.  Use this link to install to SeaMonkey.

As always, we appreciate your feedback., so please, drop us a line or visit our forum. And remember…If you love Ghostery , and want to help us out, please join our panel by opting-in to Ghostrank!

Happy Browsing!


]]> 0
New! Ghostery 4.0 for Internet Explorer Mon, 26 Jan 2015 06:30:40 +0000 Getting-the-Band-Back-to-Together_3

We’re Back!

Ghostery for Internet Explorer is once again in production.

For those who know the extension, you will see all the familiar bells and whistles. We will be porting over a few features soon like the import/export file and the additional set of languages.

For those of you who have been waiting to see Ghostery in action on your desktop. This release of Ghostery for IE compliments a set of product offerings that now reach every major desktop browser, as well and Android and iOS mobile devices. Internet users from all walks of life now have access to a more transparent and private web, regardless of their choice of browser, device, or operating system. Ghostery for IE is available in 13 languages (German, English, British English, Spanish, French, Italian, Korean, Dutch, Polish, Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese).

Ghostery for IE delivers advanced privacy features such as;

  • Displays a list of trackers and the ability for individuals to block various digital tools and social widgets
  • Blocking new trackers by default
  • Whitelist regularly used sites for faster performance

This version of Ghostery is compatible with:

  • Internet Explorer 8, 9, 10 & 11 (32 &64bit)
  • Windows XP, Vista, 7 & 8

Download Ghostery for IE.

As always, we appreciate your feedback., so please, drop us a line or visit our forum. And remember…If you love Ghostery , and want to help us out, please join our panel by opting-in to Ghostrank!


Happy Browsing.


]]> 0