In our previous article, we learned what browser fingerprinting is and some of the privacy dangers of having big tech companies or even random small websites fingerprint you, as the companies sell or share data with the bigger database advertising firms. Now we’ll discuss some tactics to actively avoid fingerprinting, which include:
1) Using Browsers with Blocking Features
2) Using a Variety of Browsers
4) Using less tracked mirror websites
5) Using Virtual Machines
Use a Browser with Blocking
Some browsers have fingerprint blocking features built into them; you just have to use them correctly.
For example on the Brave browser, go to the privacy section. Block Cross Site Cookies and then turn Fingerprinting to Strict.
The strict fingerprinting setting in Brave primarily prevent websites from knowing your exact screen resolution and browser version. While this has a positive effect on privacy, it sometimes may have a negative effect on actually viewing content or using the website.
This is because the website can’t see the correct size of the browser window and therefore misplaces key elements of the site. For example, cryptocurrency brokers may have the charts not display numbers properly. Or a Google Doc might be completely unreadable.
If you set the fingerprint mode on Brave to Standard, you get some benefit, but it’s not that great. It’s mostly just hiding the browser version, not your screen resolution.
How to Test Your Fingerprint
One way you can test to see what can
be seen under different settings or browsers is to go to a fingerprinting website that gives you a readout. Our favorite tool for this “Am I Unique,” which gives you the statistical breakdown on how common each of the characteristics of your fingerprint are, so you could potentially change them to be more common:
Keep in mind that Am I Unique is biased to a computer savvy audience interested in Privacy. For example, when I ran a test, it told me that Linux makes up 49% of its audience. But we all know that 49% of global home web users aren’t using Linux. But I could believe that 49% of its users who care about their browser fingerprint are using Linux.
Another reliable and trustworthy tool is from the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
And finally there’s a GoLogin tool with a pretty interface:
Using a Variety of Browsers
Another easy way to reduce (but NOT completely avoid) browser fingerprinting is to use different browsers for different things. This helps with both fingerprints and cookies.
Maybe you login to Twitter on Firefox. Then you use Brave for reading about politics. You login to your bank on open source Chromium. (Avoid actual Google Chrome.) Then use Tor Browser for looking up an embarrassing medical condition.
Each of these different browsers will give a SOMEWHAT unique fingerprint since its built-in privacy features will differ. While this strategy is the least effort, it also is the least effective because only the browser type and cookies change while most of your other characteristics remain the same depending on each browser’s privacy features.
Indirect Front Ends
An example of this is Nitter.net, which
Other examples of open source front ends include:
|Spyware Site||Open Source Front End|
|Google Search||Whoogle & SearX|
|iTunes Podcasts (phone app)||Antenna Pod (F-Droid app that searches iTunes)|
Mirrors are faster
Not only do mirrors like Nitter increase your privacy, but it’s faster to load without the spyware and deprives Twitter of advertising revenue. This is excellent since Twitter promotes an agenda of censorship and centralized command & control.
|Tracking Version||Freedom Version|
|Read Mainstream News Articles||Archive.is|
|Amazon||Purse.io (buy with Bitcoin)|
|Dropbox & Google Docs||Nextcloud|
|Skype / Zoom||Jitsi Meet Big Blue Button|
|Talking to Gmail||Mailvelope.com|
A great resource to find alternative platforms that have less spyware is Alternative To:
Our favorite technique (and the most reliable and effective one) for dealing with fingerprinting is to use virtual machines (VMs). You’ll learn about this concept in our next article!
Your personal data is being sold by people you hate. But you have the power to stop it.
If you have any questions about how to avoid browser fingerprinting, please reach out and book a custom consultation with Simplified Privacy. We can custom tailor advice specific to your needs and be end-to-end encrypted on easy to download and use apps such as Signal or Session for anonymous cryptocurrency. You’d benefit a lot by subscribing for free to our new content by email, by Session messenger, RSS feed, or Nostr.