Even if you spend a lot of time on the internet, you may not give much thought to your browser. Once you find one you like (probably Google Chrome, if you’re anything like the other 3 billion people who use it), chances are it just fades into the background while you do your scrolling. But behind the scenes, browsers handle a lot of information, especially when it comes to collecting all of your sweet, sweet data.


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This week on Gadget Lab, WIRED senior writer Matt Burgess joins us to talk about the dark side of browsers, and how to go about blocking ads and controlling your data online.

Show Notes

Read Matt’s story about DuckDuckGo’s desktop browser. Listen to the WIRED podcast here. Here’s the EFF’s HTTPS Everywhere browser extension. For ad-blocking, check out Ghostery. Read Lauren’s story about how websites tracked her after she called off her wedding.


Matt recommends the memoir A Woman in the Polar Night by Christiane Ritter, and also pomegranate seeds. Mike recommends giving cash at weddings instead of buying something off the registry. Lauren recommends Apple TV+, particularly for shows like Severance, WeCrashed, and The Morning Show.

Matt Burgess can be found on Twitter @mattburgess1. Lauren Goode is @LaurenGoode. Michael Calore is @snackfight. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. The show is produced by Boone Ashworth (@booneashworth). Our theme music is by Solar Keys.

How to Listen

You can always listen to this week’s podcast through the audio player on this page, but if you want to subscribe for free to get every episode, here’s how:

If you’re on an iPhone or iPad, open the app called Podcasts, or just tap this link. You can also download an app like Overcast or Pocket Casts, and search for Gadget Lab. If you use Android, you can find us in the Google Podcasts app just by tapping here. We’re on Spotify too. And in case you really need it, here’s the RSS feed.

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