May 17, 2014

How can websites track my activity if I block and delete cookies?

Can I still be tracked by websites if I block and delete cookies? Are there other things that allow me to be tracked?

How do I restore deleted cookies in Chrome?
Check your browser's add-on or extension site for plugins that will help you avoid being tracked. Ghostery is one such plugin that might help you.

Websites are increasingly turning to something called “finger-printing” to track users. This method uses information that is not uniquely identifiable in and of itself, such as browser version, which browser plugins are installed, fonts on your system, whether cookies or enabled, etc. The the combination of of these things on a machine tend to be pretty unique, however. 


The EFF has a website that lets you check your browser’s footprint and see how unique it is. I just checked while using Chrome, and I was a one in 5 million combination, so in some ways my use of plugins to stop websites tracking me actually made me more identifiable. It’s kind of disheartening that it is so difficult to maintain any semblance of privacy online. The only way to avoid finger-printing that I know of is to use Tor browser. 


Here is the site where you can check your own browsing “finger print” -  https://panopticlick.eff.org/

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