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Researchers Expose Tracking Service That Can't Be Dodged 173

Worf Maugg writes with this excerpt from Wired: "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."
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Researchers Expose Tracking Service That Can't Be Dodged

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  • by jfengel ( 409917 ) on Saturday July 30, 2011 @01:41PM (#36933858) Homepage Journal

    If I'm understanding their site correctly, it's also blocked by NoScript (or, for that matter, just turning JavaScript off).

    There are many sites that are useless without Javascript, but it's hardly surprising to me that allowing a general-purpose programming language to run on your browser creates privacy problems. Many of those sites don't really need Javascript, and I block as much JS as possible. I've walked away from sites rather than turn on JS; that's both my loss and theirs.

  • by BitterOak ( 537666 ) on Saturday July 30, 2011 @01:57PM (#36933960)

    There are always ways. It only depends on how much effort you want to put into it. You could use proxy servers to mask IP and change them frequently or even jump from one free wifi hotspot to another. You could repeatedly purge all your cache, cookies, history etc after every site you visit.

    If you RTFA, you'll see that this service is using persistent storage on your computer that is NOT contained in your cache, cookies, or browser history. Even using a DIFFERENT BROWSER on the same computer (i.e. Firefox, then Chrome) this site can track you and link your sessions. I regard this a as a browser bug, and it needs to be fixed in the browser. We can't rely on legislation or promises of good behavior from website operators to fix this problem. It really needs to be fixed in the browser, or, if it is a Flash issue, it needs to be fixed in Flash. I hope a patch comes out for Firefox soon!

  • by asdf7890 ( 1518587 ) on Saturday July 30, 2011 @02:55PM (#36934330)
    I feel a plugin coming on that will randomise the ID reported this way. Or submits misleading results from sites that are not using the service. Or even shares IDs between users so the tracked information becomes one large blob that doesn't identify the actions of any one person/group...

Put no trust in cryptic comments.