With this week’s focus on browsers, it seemed fitting to share Online Trackers Follow our Digital Shadow By ‘Fingerprinting’ Browsers, Devices, from NPR’s All Tech Considered.
In the interview, two Princeton researchers explain that modern-day tracking is sophisticated enough to track the “fingerprints” left by our computers and mobile phones when we go online. This is different from Internet cookies that can be deleted or prevented from being installed. Many of our devices have a unique fingerprint based on such factors as our browser settings, battery level, or perhaps even what fonts we have installed on a computer.
Once your fingerprint has been identified, a tracker can secretly piece together everywhere you have been online and use the information to create a profile of you. Then algorithms can be applied to deduce your personal interests and target you with ads or specific political messages.
Though they consider it to be a Band-Aid fix, one solution suggested by the researchers is Privacy Badger, a project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Click here for information on the browser extension and the work performed by EFF to defend civil liberties in the digital world.
For a look at the entire All Tech Considered piece: