Did you know that you have a unique fingerprint that can be used to track your online activity? This is called online fingerprinting, and it is one of the most invasive forms of online tracking. It uses your device’s characteristics, such as screen size, browser type, fonts installed, and plugins enabled, to create a profile of you that can be shared across different websites without your consent. Online fingerprinting can affect your privacy, security, and online choices. In this article, I will share some ways to avoid online fingerprinting while browsing the web.
The best way to avoid fingerprinting is to use a browser that protects you against it, such as Brave or Tor. These browsers have built-in software that spoofs your information by randomizing your browser’s digital fingerprint that trackers use to uniquely identify you on the web. For example, they can change your screen size, browser type, fonts installed, and plugins enabled every time you visit a website. This makes it harder for websites to create a unique profile of you and track your online activity.
In contrast, other popular browsers like Chrome or Safari do not not have good fingerprint blocking by default. They allow third-party requests to companies that are known to participate in fingerprinting. This means that these browsers expose more information about your device and preferences to online trackers.
One drawback to using a browser that blocks fingerprinting is they may have compatibility issues with some websites or extensions that rely on certain features or settings. Therefore, you may need to adjust your browser preferences or switch to another browser for some tasks.
If you want the protection of a browser that has built-in fingerprinting blocking, but don’t want to ditch your current browser then you can use an extension. There are a number of extensions for everything from canvas fingerprint blocking to user agent spoofing. However it is important to use an extension that has a randomness element to it. This is because by using the same fake fingerprint over and over again websites will be able to track you based on that fingerprint even though it may not be accurate.
Some examples of browser extensions that block fingerprinting are Canvas Blocker - Fingerprint Protect and Trace. These extensions use different methods to prevent online trackers from identifying you based on your device characteristics. For instance, Canvas Blocker - Fingerprint Protect blocks the HTML Canvas fingerprint method by changing the output of canvas elements every time they are accessed. Trace spoofs your information by randomizing your screen size, browser type, fonts installed, plugins enabled, and other features every time you visit a website.
However, using browser extensions may also have some drawbacks. For example, they may break some websites that rely on certain features or settings for functionality or security. They may also reduce your browser performance by adding extra processing time or data usage. You may need to disable or adjust your extension preferences for some websites or tasks.
One method that some people use to avoid fingerprinting is to blend in with the crowd. This means using a device and browser combination that is very common among other users, so that their fingerprint is not unique or identifiable. For instance, using Safari without any plugins on an iPhone may seem like a good way to blend in, since many other users have the same setup.
However, this method is not very effective or recommended for several reasons. First of all, by trying to blend in, users are sacrificing their privacy and security features that other browsers offer, such as built-in ad blockers or anti-tracking tools. Secondly, users may not be as anonymous as they think they are, since fingerprinting techniques can still collect other information from their device, such as screen resolution, battery level, or accelerometer data. Therefore, blending in is not a reliable way to avoid fingerprinting and may actually expose users to more risks than benefits.
To sum things up, online fingerprinting is extremely hard to avoid. This is because it relies on your device’s unique characteristics to track your online activity. Online fingerprinting can compromise your privacy and security, as well as expose you to targeted ads. However, you can try to blend in with the crowd by changing your settings and disabling some features that make you stand out.
You can also use extensions such as Privacy Badger or uBlock Origin that block third-party trackers and scripts. Alternatively, you can use a browser with built-in fingerprinting protection such as Brave or Tor Browser that prevent websites from accessing your device information. By following these tips, you can reduce the chances of being tracked and protect yourself from unwanted surveillance and manipulation.