Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 22nd Jul 2014 08:49 UTC
Internet & Networking

A new, extremely persistent type of online tracking is shadowing visitors to thousands of top websites, from WhiteHouse.gov to YouPorn.com.

First documented in a forthcoming paper by researchers at Princeton University and KU Leuven University in Belgium, this type of tracking, called canvas fingerprinting, works by instructing the visitor's Web browser to draw a hidden image. Because each computer draws the image slightly differently, the images can be used to assign each user's device a number that uniquely identifies it.

Advertising companies will become increasingly... 'Creative' to find some way of tracking us that circumvents known laws and technological barriers. However, I doubt you have to worry about the small fish - worry about what the biggest internet advertising company in the world has cooking in its labs.

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Comment by Drumhellar
by Drumhellar on Tue 22nd Jul 2014 19:54 UTC
Drumhellar
Member since:
2005-07-12

https://panopticlick.eff.org/

See how unique your browser is, without any crazy canvas tricks - just stuff learned from standard browser probing.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by Drumhellar
by WorknMan on Tue 22nd Jul 2014 20:46 in reply to "Comment by Drumhellar"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

https://panopticlick.eff.org/

See how unique your browser is, without any crazy canvas tricks - just stuff learned from standard browser probing.


I appear to have a unique footprint, and I think it is because I run at a weird resolution, since I'm visually impaired. So it seems like they're going to track me no matter what, which I guess is alright. I mean, if I were viewing child porn or trying to start a revolution in some third world shithole, I might be concerned. As it is, my web surfing habits are actually quite uneventful, and if I wanted to view something very private, I guess I'd change resolutions and use another browser in private mode.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by Drumhellar
by pysiak on Wed 23rd Jul 2014 09:10 in reply to "RE: Comment by Drumhellar"
pysiak Member since:
2008-01-01

As it is, my web surfing habits are actually quite uneventful, and if I wanted to view something very private, I guess I'd change resolutions and use another browser in private mode.

Your uneventful habits might be interesting to someone now or in 5 years. I mean, you don't get to decide what's interesting for ad & marketing companies. Maybe the fact that you stick to 3 technology-related websites *is* interesting: would you consider replacing your mouse with a bluetooth one? Here's a brand new Logitech model that's been good with people with < 800x600 resolution. Plus, you visited a medical site 2 months ago, you might want to look at this herbal drink for 2.99...

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Comment by Drumhellar
by oskeladden on Tue 22nd Jul 2014 23:35 in reply to "Comment by Drumhellar"
oskeladden Member since:
2009-08-05

Fascinating, and worse than I expected. With Javascript enabled, I was told:

Your browser fingerprint appears to be unique among the 4,323,691 tested so far.


With Javascript disabled (my usual configuration), I was told:

Within our dataset of several million visitors, only one in 540,462 browsers have the same fingerprint as yours.


Which I guess means I'm one of eight visitors to their website with my configuration.

I usually have my browser deliver a random user-agent, which should also throw fingerprinting off a bit. But this, now, is an example of tracking that really is very hard to fight.

Reply Parent Score: 4