The desire for free analytics tools and better social media traction can lead some Web sites to surrender user information to third-party companies
Some users are able to circumvent this by setting their browsers to reject cookies. However, digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation said some Web sites knowingly or unknowingly still relay to third-party companies information through a tracking method called fingerprinting.
How does fingerprinting work?
• Users Internet protocol (IP) address
• User-agent string which contains the Web browser being used, browser version, user operating system, processor information, language settings and other data
• Referrer data such as URL of Web site being used
• Other HTTP headers, which contain potential identifying information
• Sometimes tracking cookies
“These sites are for the most part not actively attempting to diminish the privacy of their users,” Lee said. “There are several factors that make it commonplace for companies to include third-party resources in their sites.”
- Services like Google Analytics provide an easy way to do analytics
- It is considered good practice for Web sites to include JQuery and load Web fonts from servers run by Google, since these load fast and reduce the burden on a company’s servers
- Social media widgets such as Facebook Like buttons allow Web sites to achieve social media traction