On the Web, they definitely know you’re a dog
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On the Web, they definitely know you’re a dog


-One of the revolutionary ideas
of the web was that anybody at home could access information
from around the world, all while remaining anonymous. On the Internet,
nobody knew you were a dog. Being anonymous, you could
express yourself without fear, become the Notorious DOG,
scratch up a new identity, go pawsotively crazy. On the Internet, you could be
a mermaid out of water and no one would be the wiser. Now that the web has become
more commercial, staying anonymous
is no longer a given. Businesses try to figure out who you are
to target you with ads. Websites ask you to log in
and drop tiny files called cookies into your browser
to watch wear you click. But you can take steps
to hold on to your privacy. Make a fake log in, use a VPN,
clear out your cookies. At least those used to work. Now, another more invasive
tracking technique threatens to sniff you out, even when you try
to go incognito. It’s called fingerprinting. Like the name implies,
every computer and phone have unique characteristics that you can’t easily
change or hid. Fingerprinting websites
might probe for your screen resolution, browser version or even
the fonts you have installed. It all adds up
to identifying your device. It’s as if every time you wanted
to open a website you had to scan your paw,
I mean, finger first. Once your browser
has been fingerprinted, a site doesn’t know
it’s you by name but it can be pretty confident that it’s the same computer
that visited in the past. Then the company can identify
the same people across websites to create a behavioral profile, all without you
being able to stop it. Not every site
is fingerprinting yet, but a study “The Post”
conducted with privacy firm Disconnect found about a third
of the 500 most popular websites in the US
now fingerprint their visitors. There are some surprises
in store for people who thought they were
browsing the web all alone. Which means now on the Internet,
they do know you’re a dog. Sorry, Pepper. But you’re a good girl. Yeah.

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