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Adblock Plus: We can stop canvas fingerprinting, the ‘unstoppable’ new browser tracking technique

Published Jul 23rd, 2014 3:15PM EDT
How to Disable Canvas Fingerprinting

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Canvas fingerprinting is a completely new way of tracking users online for advertising purposes, and reports detailing it claim it’s rather difficult to bypass. Even Adblock Plus users can’t escape canvas fingerprinting, but the company explained on its blog there is a way to deal with it, and with cookies for that matter, using its browser plugin.

Canvas fingerprinting is basically a smart way of combining data obtained with help of a web browser to create profiles and then track them online. However, because the data gathered includes graphic drivers, browser version, operating system and – maybe – “some settings like ClearType,” canvas fingerprinting may not be so efficient at tracking users of websites that have high traffic.

Adblock says that there are simply too many computers with similar configurations for canvas fingerprinting to work efficiently. Furthermore, this means that “one has to do as little as recalibrating ClearType or updating the graphics driver to drop off the radar.”

While Adblock Plus can’t prevent a browser from receiving the images used for canvas fingerprinting, the company says it can stop your computer from sending the generated “fingerprint,” which, in turn, completely stops tracking and protects your privacy.

“When you add the EasyPrivacy filter list in Adblock Plus this won’t make Adblock Plus block tracking cookies directly,” the company said. “Instead, Adblock Plus will block the script that would try to set these cookies. And guess what: blocking that script doesn’t just prevent cookie-based tracking, it also lets you deal with canvas fingerprinting or evercookie or any other tracking approach. In particular, the rules to prevent AddThis tracking were added to EasyPrivacy almost five years ago.”

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.