Tool Will Reveal Browser's Digital Fingerprint

Lora Bentley

One last thing on Internet privacy for this Friday afternoon: InfoWorld reports the Electronic Frontier Foundation has unveiled a new tool designed to uncover the digital fingerprints browsers leave on the Web.


Dubbed Panopticlick, the tool reveals the information a browser leaves when visiting a Web site: operating system, plug-in version numbers, system fonts, and screen size, to name a few. Though each considered separately might be harmless, all of them together result in a PC fingerprint that will identify the user every time he or she uses that Web site.


And deleting cookies won't be enough to prevent it, says writer Jeremy Kirk. He points to a blog post by EFF technologist Peter Eckersley in which he writes:

The browser User Agent string usually carries 5-15 bits of identifying information.... On its own, that isn't enough to recreate cookies and track people perfectly, but in combination with another detail like geolocation to a particular ZIP code or having an uncommon browser plugin installed, the User Agent string becomes a real privacy problem.

To decrease your chances of being tracked, EFF suggests using a common browser, using a mobile browser, or turning off JavaScript, the story says.

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