Canvas Fingerprinting Replacing Cookies On Well Known Websites


FingerprintCanvas Fingerprinting is a novel tracking system used on thousands of websites which monitors what users do online by exploiting features of a page’s underlying code. The system forces a web browser to create a unique hidden image based on the computer/device’s individual setup in order to identify the user consistently.

Canvas Fingerprinting is very hard to detect and control, causing frustration for tools designed to prevent online tracking due to the advanced and resilient nature it has towards being blocked or removed. The system is used on many popular websites such as government portals, online shops and pornographic sites, including The Whitehouse and San Francisco Chronicles.

Many websites turned away from the use of cookies due to unreliability caused be blocking tools, therefore the introduction of Canvas Fingerprinting was assigned to be used as a more subtle method. More than 5% of the 100,000 sites surveyed were identified to be using this method to identify their visitors however many web browsers were completely unable to identify the method at all, discovering that Tor, the anonymising browser, was the only one capable of fully identifying and blocking the fingerprinting.

Despite the growth in popularity, the fingerprinting method designed purely as a beta test in order to decide whether there were better options available, however has been said that sites will soon remove it due to not being uniquely identifying enough.

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