Even nonprofits are riddled with user trackers

Businesses often unwittingly track users online using third-party cookies, but a new report from The markup revealed that even nonprofits often do the same.

Using its Blacklight tool, the outlet analyzed more than 23,000 nonprofit websites to find that about 86% of the sites in question use third-party cookies or track network requests to collect data about their users. The markup also polled the top 80,000 websites last year to reveal that 87% are using some type of third-party tracking.

Of the 23,856 nonprofit websites analyzed in its latest survey, the outlet found that around 11% had a Facebook pixel embedded in their sites, while 18% used Google’s “Remarketing Audiences” feature. Analytics.

Besides, The markup found that 439 of the nonprofit websites analyzed had loaded scripts called session loggers, which were able to monitor clicks and keystrokes from site visitors.

Online spam tracking

Among the nonprofits analyzed, the Planned Parenthood website, which many United States relies on for access to contraceptives, abortions, sex education, and other personal health issues, was the one of the most worrying because of the number of trackers contained on its site.

The markup found a total of 28 ad trackers and 40 third-party cookies to track visitors to the association’s site after running it through its Blacklight tool. However, there were also session recordings as well as trackers from Facebook and Google.

Further investigation revealed that the Planned Parenthood site communicates with a number of for-profit companies, including Oracle, Verizon, LiveRamp, TowerData, and Quantcast. While the company’s vice president for digital products, Katie Skibinski, told the outlet that she only collects data for internal purposes and does not sell any of the data she collects, the number of trackers is still of concern because of the nature of the information that site visitors may share with the organization.

While you can use an anonymous browser to further protect yourself against unwanted online tracking, using a VPN service while browsing the sites of nonprofits and other businesses will prevent them from knowing your actual location, which will further help preserve your privacy.

Via the markup

About Stuart M. McFarland

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