If you wonder why you keep seeing the same ad, over and over, the answer could be fingerprinting.
Fingerprinting is a type of online tracking that’s different from cookies or ordinary trackers. This digital fingerprint is created when a company makes a unique profile of your computer, software, add-ons, and even preferences. Your settings like the screen you use, the fonts installed on your computer, and even your choice of a web browser can all be used to create a fingerprint.
If you have commonly used settings and programs, it becomes harder to tie your fingerprint to your computer, but, if you install unique add-ons, you’ll be easier to find. Marketers can use it to bombard you with annoying ads.
You don’t want to stop using the internet to escape the ads, and you don’t have to.
The latest Firefox has a new feature that can help you block fingerprinting coming from many ad trackers. Here’s how:
- At the top left of your Firefox browser, you will see an icon that looks like an i inside a circle. Click on it and then click on Content Blocking.
- Go to the Custom section. You’ll see boxes you can click to block trackers, cookies, fingerprinting, and cryptocurrencies.
- Click the box next to Fingerprinters, and you’re done.
Keep in mind that blocking fingerprinting may cause some sites to break. The website might look strange, or the layout will be different. Besides tracking you without your permission, fingerprinting can slow down your online experience.
“A lot of the scripts that are run to enable tracking delay webpage load times while all these tracking scripts fire and run in the background,” said Peter Dolanjski, Firefox Product Lead.
You probably wouldn’t appreciate someone tracking your moves in real life. There’s no reason to accept it online. If you don’t already have Firefox, click here to download and protect yourself from digital fingerprinting.