Brave Browser Update Will Include Feature that Prevents “Bounce Tracking”

By B.N. Frank

Data collection for the purpose of marketing more products and services to customers as well as selling customer data to third parties is sometimes referred to as “surveillance capitalism.”  Many websites do this even when customers aren’t aware of it or have not consented to it. While there are ways to reduce the amount of internet data that has been collected on you, it seems that there is little that can be done about “Browser Fingerprinting.” However, an update to the Brave browser is being released later this month that promises to prevent what’s referred to as “Bounce Tracking.”

From Ars Technica:

Brave takes on the creepy websites that override your privacy settings

Even if you block 3rd-party cookies, bounce tracking can set them anyway. Until now.

Some websites just can’t take “no” for an answer. Instead of respecting visitors’ choice to block third-party cookies—the identifiers that track browsing activity as a user moves from site to site—they find sneaky ways to bypass those settings. Now, makers of the Brave browser are taking action.

Earlier this week, Brave Nightly—the testing and development version of the browser—rolled out a feature that’s designed to prevent what’s known as bounce tracking. The new feature, known as unlinkable bouncing, will roll out for general release in Brave version 1.37 slated for March 29.

Overriding privacy

Bounce tracking is one of the key ways websites circumvent third-party cookie blocking. When a browser prevents a website such as site.example from loading a third-party tracking cookie from a domain such as tracker.example, site.example pulls a fast one. When site.example detects that the tracker.example cookie can’t be set, it instead redirects the browser to the tracker.example site, sets a cookie from that domain, and then redirects back to the original page or a new destination.

With that, the tracker.example cookie gets passed through a URL parameter and then gets stashed as a first-party cookie on the landing page. Once tracker.example places itself between enough of the sites a visitor browses, the tracker eventually builds a detailed profile of that activity, including the user’s interests and demographics.

The image below shows how third-party cookie blocking is supposed to work. When the user moves from site-one.example to cats.example and later from site-two.example to cars.example, there’s no way to track those movements as coming from the same person.

Bounce tracking circumvents this arrangement by inserting a third-party tracking site such as tracker.example in between the originating site and the cats.example or cars.example sites the user later browses to. Tracker.example then records that it was the user who visited both cats.example and cars.example.

While browsers that support third-party cookie blocking have existing mechanisms designed to thwart bounce tracking, this sneaky form of surveillance remains hard to defend against, since the browser doesn’t know beforehand that it will be directed to tracker.example. That’s where unlinkable bouncing comes in.

Read full article

Activist Post reports regularly about privacy invasive and unsafe technology.  For more information visit our archives.

Top image: Pixabay

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