Feel like your ads are getting almost too good at targeting your needs? This is the work of browser fingerprinting. And all the major sites use this to identify who you are online. If privacy is top of mind, find out how browser fingerprinting is in effect every time you visit a website.
What is browser fingerprinting?
Browser fingerprinting is an online tracking technique used to identify users’ browsers, behavior, and activity. When you surf online either through a phone or laptop, your device’s data is automatically collected to create a profile that’s unique to you. Curious to see how you stand out online? Check out AmIUnique to see your browser fingerprint among others.
Your digital fingerprint doesn’t include any personal information like your name, what you look like, your address, or your actual fingerprint. Instead, fingerprinting scripts gather attributes like these:
- Screen resolution
- Operating system
- Time zone
- Color depth
- Emoji type
- Use of ad blocker
How does it work?
You might be familiar with cookies where websites ask for your consent before they collect any data. Browser fingerprinting works in a similar way where they track and gather details about your device — just under the wraps. And they still compile your browser fingerprint with cookie settings turned off.
Why do we have browser fingerprinting?
For the most part, browser fingerprinting serves the data brokers and third-party advertisers. Your information is given to marketers to display personalized ads. Large media companies like Facebook and Google use browser fingerprinting to give ads they think you’d like and click on.
The one silver lining is that browser fingerprinting can prevent and detect fraud. If your bank account was hacked, they will notice a new user based upon their browser fingerprint. Then, they’re asked to identify themselves with the two-factor authentication.
Can you prevent browser fingerprinting?
Preventing browser fingerprinting is tricky. Your best bet is to not stand out and have basic settings on your device to blend in with everyone else. While this may not stop browser fingerprinting, you can uninstall plugins, spoof the attributes they collect, or use a browser like Firefox which blocks fingerprinting. And of course, Proxyverse has over 70M residential proxies to mask your IP address and help you stay anonymous in that way.