How to Reduce Your Internet Fingerprint and Defeat Internet Fingerprinting

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  • How to Reduce Your Internet Fingerprint and Defeat Internet Fingerprinting

[Updated January 26, 2017] In our most recent article we wrote about the use of the Internet fingerprint and the proliferation of Internet fingerprinting – the technology through which Internet marketers and others can track you even if you don’t allow Internet cookies. In this article we will tell you about some ways that you can minimize your Internet fingerprint, if not defeat Internet fingerprinting altogether.

[Here is our article on Internet fingerprinting, in case you haven’t yet seen it.]

The most immediate things that you can do to reduce your Internet fingerprint and stop Internet fingerprinting of your computer are to stop your browser from running Java, JavaScript and Flash scripting. Disabling JavaScript in particular is effective as this is one of the primary methods (at least for now) that the sites you visit can determine what fonts and other goodies you may be using. This, however, means that you are going to have to do without many of the Internet “features” to which you may have become accustomed, including Internet video.

That said, there is a plugin for Firefox which will disable scripting by default, but which allows you to “whitelist” sites for which you want to enable Java, JavaScript and Flash. The plugin is called “NoScript”, and you can download the Firefox NoScript plugin here.

 
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How to Reduce Your Internet Fingerprint and Defeat Internet Fingerprinting

Also, the more plain vanilla your computer is – and in particular your browsing environment – the less distinguishable you will be. For example, if you are running a beta version of the next hot browser, you will be much easier to pick out of a crowd than if you are running Firefox.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) points out that, almost counter-intuitively, the browser best suited for thwarting Internet fingerprinting is the browser on your smartphone. This is because, while the browser on your computer can have any myriad of plugins, fonts, and other variables which, together, make up your unique Internet fingerprint, the browser on your smartphone has almost no such variables. No plugins, and few options.

Finally, it’s never a bad idea to use the “private browsing” feature of your browser (in the most current version of Firefox, that’s under “File”, and then “New Private Window”).

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While private browsing is not a feature intended to defeat Internet fingerprinting per se, that along with the NoScript plugin should get you a long way there.

There are a few other options, but they are not for the faint of heart or the average user (think “things that people in China do to go undetected on the Internet”). But the above steps should help you to at least reduce your Internet fingerprint.

  
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How to Reduce Your Internet Fingerprint and Defeat Internet Fingerprinting

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