Cookies and Fingerprints: You Will Be Monitored by Mom

April 15, 2020

Everywhere you go on the Internet, cookies are tracking your movements (even with a VPN). The technology is over a decade old and they range from tracking pixels, content tracker, cross-site tracking cookies, social trackers and browser finger-printing. The Next Web explains that browser fingerprinting is becoming more popular with advertisers in the article, “Digital Fingerprints Are The New Cookies-And Advertisers Want Yours.”

Digital Fingerprinting refers to a company generating a profile about your device’s characteristics. These can include everything from operating system down to browser settings. In other words, it is more like an anonymous barcode. Your identity is not attached to the digital fingerprint, but your data is for advertisers to send targeted ads.

Banks use digital fingerprinting as a security measure. Banking Web sites can identify the device you are on, but if they do not they ask security questions. Advertisers now want the technology to make more money. For users, it is more along the lines of capitalist Big Brother.

There are ways to turn off digital fingerprinting. Most of the tracking happens when you are on the Internet, so look through your browser settings and see if it has tracking protection. Even if you turn on tracking protection it does not entirely hide you:

“While “incognito mode” prevents your browser history from being recorded on your computer and prevents your spouse to spy on you, it does not prevent websites that you visit from collecting data about you and it does nothing to block fingerprinting. Similarly, clearing your browsing history on a regular basis, while a healthy thing to do, does not address fingerprinting either.

While ad blockers block ads from loading, not all ad blockers also block trackers, even less fingerprinters. Trackers can come attached to ads, but quite often they are not part of the ad delivery process itself. Social trackers, tracking pixels and fingerprinters for instance don’t need to piggyback on an ad to track your data.”

To avoid cookies, use a private connection, a good decent VPN, and browse in incognito mode. It does not work 100%, but it is better than capitalist Big Brother.

Whitney Grace, April 15, 2020


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