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Former Google engineer builds service to stop companies from tracking people online

Published Apr 17th, 2013 9:50AM EDT
Former Google engineer builds service to stop companies from tracking people online

As advertising companies continue to push the boundaries of online tracking in an effort to woo clients with eerily accurate ad targeting techniques, online privacy is seemingly becoming a thing of the past. One startup is looking to stop third-parties from tracking users on the web, however, and one of the company’s co-founders may be in a better position than most to accomplish this lofty goal.

Former Google engineer Brian Kennish began building Disconnect two years ago, according to a recent feature on The New York Times’ Bits blog. The service installs a plugin for either Chrome or Firefox and stops third parties from tracking users as they browse the web. It is currently blocks more than 2,000 different companies that track users online, most of which track users for the purposes of serving targeted advertisements.

“We are stopping that flow of data as you bounce around the Web,” Kennish told Bits. “Third-party retargeters are not going to have information about you.”

Kennish’s background at Google, an online advertising pioneer, may give him unique insights into online tracking services that others simply don’t have. And to make the software even more appealing, Disconnect allows users to pay whatever they want for the software and service, and to designate a portion of their payment that will go to charity if they choose.

The latest version of Disconnect for Chrome and Firefox is currently available on the company’s website.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content.

Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment. His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.