Tracking Cookies Replaced by Browser Fingerprints

Tracking Cookies Replaced by Browser Fingerprints

By Bob Rankin

Your online visits no longer just leave cookie ‘crumbs’ behind…now you are leaving fingerprints.–PC Pitstop

Cookies are crumbling. Those bits of code that Web sites deposit on your hard drive are becoming less useful to marketers, and others wanting to track what you do online. But there’s a new web tracking technology that can’t be easily detected or blocked. Here’s what you need to know about browser fingerprinting…

What is Browser Fingerprinting?

Web cookies have been around for twenty years; they can be used to customize your online experience and save you time. However, online marketers, social networks, and others have learned how to use them to their advantage as well. The good news is that these little tidbits are becoming less valuable to those third parties, as browser technology and privacy initiatives advance.

The bad news is that they’ve come up with a replacement technology that some call “browser fingerprinting.” And the steps you may take to avoid cookies don’t work against fingerprinting.

Let’s take a step back. I’ve always said that cookies are not inherently bad; in fact, many people’s favorite features of the Web won’t work without cookies. (See related: A Closer Look at Cookies.) But cookies are a mixed blessing. They can be used to build anonymous profiles of a user’s activity across the web, and that bothers some.

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Excerpt shared with permission from Bob Rankin.

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2 thoughts on “Tracking Cookies Replaced by Browser Fingerprints

  1. Cookie removal is actually affecting our ability to log into some pretty strict websites. How can I turn off the feature to remove those cookies, or at least prevent certain cookies from being deleted. Thanks

  2. Bob, thanks for bringing this to our attention. I have an observation: I got the same results as you using FireFox and Opera, in regular and private modes. Logic says with Opera I should be much much more unique, even with private mode. What do you think?

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