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A new, extremely persistent type of online tracking is shadowing visitors to thousands of top websites,...Canvas Fingerprinting User Tracking Is Very Difficult To Block [mashable.com]
The type of tracking, called canvas fingerprinting, works by instructing the visitorís web browser to draw a hidden image, and was first documented in a upcoming paper by researchers at Princeton University and KU Leuven University in Belgium. Because each computer draws the image slightly differently, the images can be used to assign each userís device a number that uniquely identifies it.
Like other tracking tools, canvas fingerprints are used to build profiles of users based on the websites they visit ó profiles that shape which ads, news articles or other types of content are displayed to them.
But fingerprints are unusually hard to block: They canít be prevented by using standard web browser privacy settings or using anti-tracking tools such as AdBlock Plus.
As a marketer I like the technique. It is difficult to allocate funds to different advertising buckets if you can't track sales. To all those using the internet, Caveat Emptor! You best use a proxy service if you don't want to be tracked. Using the Internet is not anonymous. It never was, for the average user.
They canít be prevented by using standard web browser privacy settings or using anti-tracking tools such as AdBlock Plus.
You best use a proxy service
'Canvas fingerprinting' online tracking is sneaky but easy to halt
ďAs soon as you start talking about millions of users (e.g. if you want to track users across multiple websites) it is just too likely that different users will have exactly the same configuration and wonít be distinguishable by means of canvas fingerprinting,Ē he wrote.
Widgets such as AddThis can be entirely blocked with tools such as AdBlock Plus or DoNotTrackMe from Abine, both extensions that can block web trackers.