As consumers, most of us are aware of today’s online privacy concerns. The imminent rise in tracking indivdual movements online to collect and store information about our unique interests is exploding in growth as more companies try to mine data and create a competitive advantage. In addition, data is big money in today’s digital world. The ability to customize ads based on unique characteristics to a target demographic is the equivalent of a gold mine in the advertising industry. Targeted ads increase the likelihood that a consumer will make a purchase instead of the “spray and pray” approach which relies on the hope that the right consumer sees your ad. Unfortunately, a lot of the data collected on online behaviors is done without our knowledge or permission, causing concern about how we can protect ourselves and retain more control over what information, if any, is collected and stored.
Most of us are familiar with the term “cookies” – tiny pieces of data stored about us that merchants can use to understand more about our browsing history. But did you know that disabling cookies in your Web browser doesn’t necessarily mean that you have pulled the plug on the ability of third parties to track your online activities?
A new way for advertisers to capture and record your activities is called “device fingerprinting” which is summed up in the Infographic below. Device fingerprinting uses unique characteristics of a browser environment such as screen dimensions, fonts, and your clock to identify and track you. A knee jerk reaction to this technology may be negative, but device fingerprinting also has its advantages. Listed below is a very informative Infographic on device fingerprinting including it’s advantages and disadvantages and how to protect yourself from it if you don’t wish to be tracked.
What are your thoughts on device fingerprinting? Does it do more harm than good? Weigh in with your opinions on the comments below.