Canvas fingerprinting has been on the news a lot lately, described as the alternative to Internet tracking cookies that is impossible to turn off. But it’s actually not that hard to block canvas fingerprinting.
Canvas fingerprinting isn’t really anything new, it’s just a new twist on a method of tracking individual computers on the Internet. Last year we explained Internet fingerprinting, and nearly 10 years ago we described how any computer can be tracked across the Internet using its clock skew fingerprint.
We also wrote about how to thwart Internet fingerprinting.
AddThis touts itself by saying that “AddThis offers you website tools, advertising solutions and massive data.”
Ewww, doesn’t that “massive data” just make your skin crawl?
In a blog post ostensibly in response to the canvas fingerprinting outcry, but that really seems more a thinly guised marketing tool, AddThis said that “We conducted this research project from February to mid-July. We’re constantly testing, and this was a preliminary initiative to evaluate alternatives to browser cookies. Many other companies are working on cookie alternatives, and we wanted to see if this approach worked before deciding whether or how we’d use it. The test was completed, the code has been disabled, and this data was never used for personalization or targeted advertising.”
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And there in lies the twin rub. Both that they did it in the first place, and that their code is still on your computer.
The EFF offers a handy way to test how much information your browser is giving up at the EFF How Unique and Trackable is Your Browser test.