Sunday, July 31, 2011

Researchers Expose Cunning Online Tracking Service That Can’t Be Dodged

Flickr Commons - o5com
Ryan Singel

Researchers at U.C. Berkeley have discovered that some of the net’s most popular sites are using a tracking service that can’t be evaded — even when users block cookies, turn off storage in Flash, or use browsers’ “incognito” functions.

The service, called KISSmetrics, is used by sites to track the number of visitors, what the visitors do on the site, and where they come to the site from — and the company says it does a more comprehensive job than its competitors such as Google Analytics.

But the researchers say the site is using sneaky techniques to prevent users from opting out of being tracked on popular sites, including the TV streaming site

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Ed Hurst said...

I'm rather annoyed the Wired editors have avoided the proper and established term for this: evercookies. Your favorite search engine will allow you to find references to defeating this beast. For the most part, it depends on JavaScript and Flash. You can use CCleaner or BleachBit to remove evercookies, but it requires a little knowledgeable configuration to be happy with the results.

The other thing is use a browser which does not have JScript and Flash (plain text browsers like Lynx, for example; another toy requiring some expertise) or a browser which allows you turn them on and off on-the-fly. For example, Opera browser allows you to add preference toggles to the interface.

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