Friday, July 25, 2014

Stealthy new online tracking software puts your privacy at risk

A growing number of websites are employing a stealthy new form of hard-to-block Internet tracking software that may pose increasing privacy risks for customers.

Canvas fingerprinting, which can command your browser to draw a unique identifier and then log your online behaviour, is nearly impossible to detect, does not fall under “do not track” voluntary systems and evades most conventional ad-blocking software. It is already tracking users on 5 per cent of the biggest sites on the Internet, including The White House, Starbucks, Re/Max Canada, Canadian retailers Metro and Home Hardware, Postmedia website Canada.com, as well as a number of pornography sites.

A team of academics from Princeton University and Belgium’s KU Leuven University released a study Tuesday that says canvas fingerprinting has spread to at least 5,542 of the Web’s top 100,000 sites, largely thanks to software from a Virginia-based company called AddThis.

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