HTML5 seems to be created for user tracking. Will browsers save us?

Web programming language HTML5 gives developers a lot of new options, but it also lets advertisers identify and track users without their knowledge or consent.

A Princeton professor has recently demonstrated how ad networks could fingerprint browsers by utilizing HTML5 features. Each device leaves unique fingerprints on the websites its user opens. The more information about a device and a browser, the more precise and the better traceable fingerprints are.

"HTML5 browsers use a library to do audio processing, but different software stacks produce a unique fingerprint in combination with other data. Similar techniques also work on the battery and WebRTC functions", the professor says.

Ad blockers and anti-trackers like Ghostery try to limit tracking and fingerprinting, but their effort is still insufficient. It’s up to browsers to protect the users that do not want to be tracked, and popular browsers are already taking measures. Apps designed especially for private browsing are also a help, but they demand some deliberate activity of a user – for example, even Tor browser can protect from canvas fingerprinting only if a person avoids using some features.

AdGuard is able to prevent fingerprinting almost completely. Stealth mode module is responsible for that in the Windows version of the program, and spyware filter – in all the others.

Ludmila Kudryavtseva on Industry News
February 26, 2018
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