EFF: Web Browsers Leave 'Fingerprints' Behind as You Surf the Net
May 18, 2010, 16:32 (0 Talkback[s])
"New research by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has
found that an overwhelming majority of web browsers have unique
signatures -- creating identifiable "fingerprints" that could be
used to track you as you surf the Internet.
"The findings were the result of an experiment EFF conducted
with volunteers who visited http://panopticlick.eff.org/. The
website anonymously logged the configuration and version
information from each participant's operating system, browser, and
browser plug-ins -- information that websites routinely access each
time you visit -- and compared that information to a database of
configurations collected from almost a million other visitors. EFF
found that 84% of the configuration combinations were unique and
identifiable, creating unique and identifiable browser
"fingerprints." Browsers with Adobe Flash or Java plug-ins
installed were 94% unique and trackable.
""We took measures to keep participants in our experiment
anonymous, but most sites don't do that," said EFF Senior Staff
Technologist Peter Eckersley. "In fact, several companies are
already selling products that claim to use browser fingerprinting
to help websites identify users and their online activities"