What is Browser Fingerprinting and How to Stay Away From It?

Abeerah Hashim Last updated: May 30, 2023 Read time: 23 minutes Disclosure

Web browser fingerprinting, also dubbed canvas fingerprinting, is a serious threat you must learn about and take the necessary steps to avoid.

As you visit any website, your device communicates with the site and sends your information to it, such as device details, location, and browsing history. These remain stored on the internet and serve as digital fingerprints. Its sole purpose is to enhance users’ browsing experience. Unfortunately, these fingerprints aid advertising agencies and snoopers in tracking your online activities. In addition, the browser-generated fingerprints provide enough data to impersonate your profile. Fortunately, there are effective methods through which you can control online tracking via browser fingerprinting. Learn more about how you can do it in this guide.

Back in the 1960s, the internet started as a privacy-oriented information-sharing and networking technology.

It certainly continued respecting the users’ privacy for quite a while until Silicon Valley started rising.

After that, the tech giants and advertisers began leveraging the internet for monetization by increasing user tracking. These advertisers and tracking entities keep on chasing internet users as they surf online.

Though thanks to privacy advocates, people started to become aware of their internet privacy. Today, 90% of American users deem their online privacy paramount.

That is the reason why we have so many anti-tracking tools, such as adblockers and IP masking tools. These tools tend to prevent the trackers to a certain extent. However, still, advertisers and trackers keep on hunting for users’ privacy.

The base of all this tracking phenomenon is digital or browser fingerprinting.

Every user, knowingly or unknowingly, leaves a unique browser fingerprint online. Because of these digital fingerprints left online by the users, including you, the trackers can chase you.

Does that mean that you cannot fend off these tracking elements ever?

Certainly, no!

With this article, you will learn how browser fingerprinting works and how you can ensure protection against digital fingerprints.

What is browser fingerprinting

When you connect to the internet via your PC, laptop, or smartphone, your device communicates with the websites you visit, sending lots of data about you to the sites.

Since you use a browser to step into the online world, all the data is transmitted through your browser.

This information includes precise details about you, such as your device information, browser information, location, network, and other data. All this is in addition to the information about your browsing habits.

After you complete your browsing session and close your browser, ideally, your data generated online should disappear. But this does not happen.

Rather, the online world stores all your data so that you do not appear anonymous online the next time you visit.

Although, this looks like a facility for the netizens as it helps achieve a tailored browsing experience. Yet, advertisers and web trackers also use the same data to keep an eye on the users.

This entire process is called ‘browser fingerprinting’ – that is – tracking your online fingerprint generated by your browser.

How does an online fingerprint identify me?

With browser fingerprints, the information collected about you includes numerous data points that predominantly help track the following details.