After a regular session on a Web browser, let’s say you choose to go into privacy mode to avoid being tracked by search engines, ads and social media.
Unfortunately, this trusted online privacy mode feature is no guarantee of privacy. A London software developer has found a string of code – a “super cookie” – that carries over and continues to identify you to websites.
The example cited in the CNN Money article by Jose Pagliery is of someone shopping on Amazon who then clicks on to Facebook. Next, they use Google’s “incognito” or the “private window” in Firefox, for example. Believing they are in privacy mode, they visit a controversial site. Well, if the site uses the same ad network as Amazon or an FB “like” button, that visitor is also known as the Amazon and Facebook user who’s using the controversial site.
It gets worse. Even if a web browser remembers that you used the https:// prefix to secure your communication on a site, and remembers even when you go into privacy mode, the super cookie allows ads and social media buttons to remember you, as well.
Experts say we have a privacy arms race on our hands. There’s a fix for Firefox, not for Chrome. Internet Explorer isn’t at risk, but iOS devices are.