What will new General Data Protection Regulation laws mean for websites that use sneaky web trackers such as browser fingerprinting to profile visitors ? Privacy experts say the practice is likely illegal under the newly-enacted GDPR regulation. But they also say don’t expect the method of tracking users to disappear anytime soon, said the Electronic Frontier Foundation in a report issued Tuesday.
Using the HTML5 framework, websites are able to identify users (or a browser image) not by cookies, but the unique characteristics of a browser such as fonts, SVG widgets and WebGL—for starters. The technique is called browser fingerprinting or canvas fingerprinting. Websites harvest the browser data to produce a single, unique identifier to track users across multiple websites without any actual identifier persistence on the user’s machine. […]
“ Looking at how web fingerprinting techniques have been used so far, it is very difficult to imagine companies moving from deliberate obscurity to full transparency and open communication with users, ” he said in a post, written along with Katarzyna Szymielewicz, co-founder and president of the Panoptykon Foundation. “ Fingerprinting companies will have to do what their predecessors in the cookie world did before now : face greater detection and exposure by coming clean about their practices, or slink even further behind the curtain, and hope to dodge European law. ” […]