The Problematic Canvas Fingerprinting, A New Tracking Technology

Another day, another new technology to track people on the internet. Forbes reports that a new tracking technology called Canvas Fingerprinting that can tracks internet surfers’ web behaviors even with anti-tracking tools or strict privacy settings in place.

Here’s how it works. By employing Canvas Fingerprinting, websites can secretively send your web browser a request to generate a hidden image consisting of some text, and then assigns a “fingerprint” for each computer based on the image produced. Because of the slight setting variations in font, browser, or graphic rendering between each end device, the generated fingerprint would be unique and therefore be employed for tracking. Different websites utilizing this same tracking system can track a user from site to site, with currently no way for users to opt-out.

As with the recent Facebook experiment debacle, we here at the IPG Media Lab highly value privacy and strictly follow the rule of “informed consent first” in our conduct. By design, Canvas Fingerprinting is inherently sneaky and secretive, and therefore problematic without proper legislation.