Daily Dashboard

Online Tracking Tools Go Way Beyond the Cookie

ONLINE PRIVACY

February 2, 2010

Cookies are just one example of the tools Web publishers can use to harvest a bounty of identifying information, MediaPost reports. Peter Eckersley, staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says the group has been studying the ways that companies use browser-configuration details to identify users and has launched its Panopticlick project to test how useful such data can be for tracking people. The information can include operating systems, time zones, screen size, plug-ins installed and system fonts and can create what Eckersly calls "fingerprints" that companies could theoretically use to identify returning consumers whether or not they have cleared their computers of cookies--and potentially restore those that were previously deleted.
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