Commoners often strive to be unique and stand out from the crowd, however, when they are online they wish to stay anonymous. This stays a farfetched dream due to a concept known as “Device Fingerprinting!” Every website you visit and every pop-up you click is getting tracked and eventually building-up your digital profile. If you are thinking you can escape the same by clearing your cookies, then you are wrong! Your reckless activity on the Internet is spoiling your digital identity. Let’s know more about this in detail!
What Is Device Fingerprinting?
Also known as Browser fingerprinting, this is a technique through which individuals using Internet are identified by collecting data about them. The attributes through which it is done are browser settings and system configuration. Since it includes supported fonts, screen resolution, operating system, timezone, browser version, plugins and other specs, building up a unique set is not an uphill task. This is possible because no other person is using similar set of specs as you are! And this way, your Fingerprint is generated!
As soon as you’re fingerprinted, to gather information about you becomes even easier for third parties. Simply put, every website you visit, every TV show you stream, and every move you make on the Internet leaves a trace. And by this a detailed profile around your interests is built.
Some of you might think that you are not under risk because you aren’t using single browser and while switching between them have ruined the “fingerprint” algorithm or sophisticatedly called “impede tracking.” Well, if you are doing this, then too you are not safe! The cross-browser fingerprinting is efficient enough to identify and track users across multiple browsers as well. It’s a huge win for developers, but the online privacy gets a tight punch with this.
Is Fingerprinting Good for Anything?
There is no single verdict that categorizes this technique singularly as constructive or destructive. Initially, this technique was developed for banks. It acted as an “online fraud prevention” technique as it detected suspicious behavior of individuals on the website. Today, it’s available for every live website, and thus threatening the privacy of every Internet user across the globe!
Online merchants and advertising companies are biggest players in this game. The reason behind it is that the detailed consumer profiling is valuable for precise targeting which brings high profit. This means that not only developers but marketers also have access to your digital profile. Imagine what blunders can happen if the hackers gain access to digital fingerprint and expose your data!
Can We Avoid Fingerprinting?
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Using VPN (Virtual Private Network) service, you’ll be able to limit your data from getting in trap of the people with malicious intent. It is recommended to choose a highly popular VPN. The reason behind is that when many users with distinct browsing habits connect with the VPN servers, individual identification becomes almost impossible.
Though we cannot expect the fingerprints to diminish entirely, we can always take precautions to make our digital identity obscure for now! What do you think?