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This is how you are identified online – without the use of cookies

A study carried out by the advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation, EFF, shows that it is possible to create a unique profile of a web visitor without using cookies. The technology is so effective that, according to the EFF, it works on about 94 percent of all browsers if Flash and JavaScript are installed.

– This means that most internet users are not as anonymous as they think. Even if you block the use of cookies in your browser and also use a proxy, you can still be identified, says Peter Eckersley at EFF.

However, the technology described as similar to a digital fingerprint cannot identify specific personal data, but it is possible to create a profile that can be identified between different websites, the EFF states.

Uses javascript
By using javascript, a website can explore a visitor’s browser and collect information such as platform, installed plugins, language and time zone, and more. By combining a large amount of data, a profile can be created around the visitor.

Companies have already appeared that have started to offer services that profile internet visitors without using cookies. Companies such as 41st Parameter, Threatmetrix and Iovation are already widely used by banks, e-commerce sites and social services.

EFF has already created one test page where you can see for yourself how the technology can be used.

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