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How Your Ad Blocker Can Track You Across the Web

Gizmodo: “…the average ad blocker leaves tiny traces of data on the websites you visit. When those traces are collected en masse, a bad actor (or tech company) could use these signals to identify your specific browser—a process literally called “fingerprinting” in the ad-targeting industry. And like a fingerprint, these signals are basically impossible to burn off without taking some pretty drastic steps. “Fingerprinting” refers to a particularly scuzzy form of tracking that’s designed to be near-impossible for users to shake off. Cookies can be cleared, your cache can be flushed, and you can browse exclusively in incognito mode, but your browser’s “fingerprint” is cobbled together from a slew of different signals: your IP address, your window size, your language settings, and much, much more. When you visit a web page that has a hidden piece of fingerprinting code on it, these data points get sucked in and a hashed jumble of numbers and letters—your unique fingerprint—gets spit out. By tracking which fingerprints crop up on which sites, these companies can covertly track you no matter how much you beg them to stop. Naturally when you use an ad blocker, it’s going to give off some sort of signal to the site you’re visiting—but not enough to uniquely identify your browser. In order to do that, Cybersecurity researcher Sergey Mostsevenko explained, you need to get a bit creative..”

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