Take this test to find out if you are vulnerable to fingerprinting

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Tracers are very badly seen today by Internet users. And while some browsers already block third-party cookies, which track a person’s navigation between multiple sites, even Google is about to end support for this technology on Chrome.

The Mountain View company, whose income comes largely from online advertising, wants to replace third-party cookies with a technology that is more respectful of privacy and does not include individual tracking of the Internet user.

Unfortunately, third-party cookies are not the only way to track an Internet user. Worse than these cookies, fingerprinting does not deposit a file on the user’s browser, but allows the user to be tracked using their fingerprint.

But what imprint is it? In essence, when a client (like your browser) connects to a server, the server accesses a set of data about that client’s characteristics. And fingerprinting consists of using this set of characteristics as a kind of fingerprint to identify an Internet user.

Are you vulnerable to fingerprinting? This test answers you

While cookies can be blocked, fighting fingerprinting can be more complicated. If you want to know if you are vulnerable to this practice, there is a test you can take online.

The test is offered by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based NGO that defends Internet users’ right to privacy. To do this, simply go to the coveryourtracks.eff.org site (in English) and then press the “Test your browser” button.

CLEAR

© EFF

For the tests to be carried out under conditions closer to reality, you can even tick the box “Test with a real tracking company”. The test will be done through a company specializing in tracking.

It takes a little while. Then, the EFF displays a table of the results of this test. For example, for my browser, according to the site, it does not block advertising tracking, nor invisible tracers, and even less fingerprinting.

CLEAR

© EFF

“Your browser fingerprint appears to be unique among 219,019 tested over the past 45 days. Currently, we estimate that your browser has a fingerprint that transmits at least 17.74 bits of identifying information”, we also read in the result of the test that I carried out. Scary !

The site also provides interesting documentation on tracking and fingerprinting, which you can translate.

Blocking fingerprinting, mission impossible?

Unfortunately, the EFF admits, it is extremely difficult to fight against fingerprinting. To leave less traces, this one suggests using a common browser, and recommends Mozilla Firefox. But he admits that even using this Chrome alternative, “many of these Firefox on Windows browsers are distinguished from each other by the huge range of plugin versions and fonts that can be installed with them.”

The good news is that when you use a smartphone, you leave fewer traces that can be used to create a fingerprint.

Otherwise, the EFF suggests another, more radical solution: deactivate JavaScript. This eliminates methods used to detect information such as plugins or fonts. But disabling this browser feature will render many websites unusable.

Another solution: use software called TorButton. According to the EFF, this will modify characteristics of the browser so that they are not used to track Tor users. Unfortunately, using the Tor network will slow down your connection.

In essence, the test seems to be a way for the EFF to raise awareness about fingerprinting, and the fact that today there is no real defense (without impacting functionality) against this practice.

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