A new kind of tracking tool, canvas fingerprinting, is being used to follow visitors to thousands of top websites, from WhiteHouse.gov to YouPorn.
future of tracking
Cookies are the basis for billions of dollars of online advertising. They’re also under fire from privacy advocates, the government, and even makers of Web browsers. But the key problem is the fragmentation of how people access online content (from phone to computer to tablet and back again).
And so the worries about how advertisers will be able to reach fragmented, increasingly privacy-aware audiences continue to consume the online ad business. Problem is, they haven’t yet come up with solutions–and the clock is ticking.
How unique and trackable is your browser?
Is your browser configuration rare or unique? If so, web sites may be able to track you, even if you limit or disable cookies. “Fingerprinting” may prove a more robust tracking technology than cookies.
Panopticlick tests your browser to see how unique it is based on the information it will share with sites it visits.
Advertisers and publishers are increasingly turning to something called fingerprinting. It allows a web site to look at the characteristics of a computer such as what plugins and software you have installed, the size of the screen, the time zone, fonts and other features of any particular machine. These form a unique signature just like random skin patterns on a finger.
Picture the scene. It’s 2020. You’re at the checkout in a convenience store with a carton of milk. But you’ve got no cash and you’ve left your cards at home. No problem. You scan your right index finger; the green light flashes. Purchase approved and you leave. Easy.
We’re not there yet, but a cashless society is not as fanciful as it seems.
The US supreme court doesn’t understand the internet. The future of technology and privacy law will undoubtedly be written over the next few years by nine individuals who haven’t “really ‘gotten to’ email” and find Facebook and Twitter “a challenge” .
The average person with an Android smartphone is using it to search the web, from a browser, only 1.25 times per day, says Roi Carthy, head of special projects at Tel Aviv-based mobile startup Everything.Me. That isn’t just bad news for Google, it also signals a gigantic, fundamental shift in how people interact with the web.