Meet the Online Tracking Device That is Virtually Impossible to Block

WebInvestigator.KK.org - by F. Kaskais

(David Sleight/ProPublica)

Update: After this article was published, YouPorn contacted us to say it had removed AddThis technology from its website, saying that the website was “completely unaware that AddThis contained a tracking software that had the potential to jeopardize the privacy of our users.” A spokeswoman for the German digital marketer Ligatus also said that is no longer running its test of canvas fingerprinting, and that it has no plans to use it in the future.

This story was co-published with Mashable.

by Julia Angwin

A new kind of tracking tool, canvas fingerprinting, is being used to follow visitors to thousands of top websites, from WhiteHouse.gov to YouPorn.

First documented in a forthcoming paper by researchers at Princeton University and KU Leuven University in Belgium, this type of tracking, called canvas fingerprinting, works by instructing the visitor’s Web browser to draw a hidden image. Because each computer draws the…

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