1 Lakh top sites ‘fingerprint’ you on web

‘Canvas Fingerprinting’ also being used by porn sites and White House

New York: A shocking new report has revealed that it’s now virtually impossible to hide your identity from websites that are using a new tracking method called Canvas Fingerprinting.

The tracking system identifies you through a hidden, unique image with each computer producing this image once they visit the website — much like a fingerprint. The system then uses this unique assigned image to develop a user profile, track you across the Web and then sell you targeted adds.

The tracking system, invented in the year 2012, was uncovered by researchers from Princeton and KU Leven Universities in a paper titled, The Web Never Forgets. In their report, the researchers claim five per cent of the world’s top 100,000 websites use this method to track user movements online — including, Perez Hilton, PlentyOfFish, Rap Genius, CBS, and online porn giant, YouPorn.

The system is being widely described as “sinister” because a user can’t rely on AdBlock or standard Web privacy settings to beat the tracking. Even Google Chrome’s famous Incognito mode seems useless as the tracking system seems stronger.

Experts at ProPublica, however, are urging those concerned to resort to networks such as Tor, which can be used to browse the Internet anonymously and other free-to-use extensions that don’t collect user data. ProPublica has also recommended the use of Chameleon, a browser that claims it has been designed to avoid such tracking.

The code for Canvas Fingerprinting was first written by a company called Addthis. A representative from the online ads firm said the system was primarily intended to become a bypass to traditional browser cookies, largely responsible for leaving your mark on the websites you have visited.

Several websites on the Internet have an open cookies policy and inform the user about any system that’s tracking information.

( Source : agencies )
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