[LINK] Web Browsers Leave 'Fingerprints' Behind as You Surf the Net
kim at holburn.net
Tue May 18 10:28:04 AEST 2010
> Web Browsers Leave 'Fingerprints' Behind as You Surf the NetEFF
> Research Shows More Than 8 in 10 Browsers Have Unique, Trackable
> San Francisco - New research by the Electronic Frontier Foundation
> (EFF) has found that an overwhelming majority of web browsers have
> unique signatures -- creating identifiable "fingerprints" that could
> be used to track you as you surf the Internet.
> The findings were the result of an experiment EFF conducted with
> volunteers who visited http://panopticlick.eff.org/. The website
> anonymously logged the configuration and version information from
> each participant's operating system, browser, and browser plug-ins
> -- information that websites routinely access each time you visit --
> and compared that information to a database of configurations
> collected from almost a million other visitors. EFF found that 84%
> of the configuration combinations were unique and identifiable,
> creating unique and identifiable browser "fingerprints." Browsers
> with Adobe Flash or Java plug-ins installed were 94% unique and
> "We took measures to keep participants in our experiment anonymous,
> but most sites don't do that," said EFF Senior Staff Technologist
> Peter Eckersley.
> "In fact, several companies are already selling products that claim
> to use browser fingerprinting to help websites identify users and
> their online activities.
> This experiment is an important reality check, showing just how
> powerful these tracking mechanisms are."
> EFF found that some browsers were less likely to contain unique
> browser plug-ins may be able to be configured to limit the
> information your browser shares with the websites you visit. But
> overall, it is very difficult to reconfigure your browser to make it
> less identifiable. The best solution for web users may be to insist
> that new privacy protections be built into the browsers themselves.
> "Browser fingerprinting is a powerful technique, and fingerprints
> must be considered alongside cookies and IP addresses when we
> discuss web privacy and user trackability," said Eckersley. "We hope
> that browser developers will work to reduce these privacy risks in
> future versions of their code."
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