A German investigation conducted by journalists from a public broadcasting station (NDR) has recently discovered that Web Of Trust (or WOT) – collects, records, analyzes and sells user-related data to third-parties.
The irony is, Web Of Trust, as its name suggests, was actually meant to safeguard users privacy by indicating which sites are trustworthy and which are not, using “Web reputation icons” based on a unique system of ratings and reviews.
Do You Trust Web Of Trust?
According to the investigators, the data obtained was traceable to WOT and could be assigned to specific individuals, despite WOT’s claim that they anonymize user data.
In order not to risk users of the add-on, the journalists did not reveal how exactly they manged to retrieve all the information they had at hand, however they did reveal how potentially dangerous it actually is.
The information included websites visited, account names and email addresses, potentially revealing user illnesses, sexual preferences and drug consumption. The journalists also reconstructed a media company’s confidential financial data, and details about an ongoing police investigation.
“We may disclose or share this information with third parties”
However they do also mention, at the same breath, that all the information they aggregate is non-personal non-identifiable information.
Prior to the publication of the report, the German media contacted WOT with the results of the investigation, yet WOT chose not to comment at that time.
So far the add-on has been downloaded by over 140 million users world-wide.
The addon is no longer available on both Firefox and Chrome extension pages at the moment.