Tonight I created a new Google profile. The goal of the exercise is to increase my privacy by creating a separate Google account (with bogus information) so I can use the Google RSS service without dropping my pants. Not that I subscribe to anything particularly telling, but that’s my business. The answer: create a completely unique profile for only that purpose.

But, there’s a catch. There’s still a pretty good chance that the Goog (and all their pals) can still tell it’s me. They do this through fingerprinting.

Every time your browser asks for something over the Interwebs, it tells a little about itself. A lot of sites have little scripts they send your way that report back even more. It starts with screen resolution, the default colors for visited links, and a host of other little bits that, when put together, create a unique profile. Based on unprotected information, sophisticated sites can pin you down, even if you don’t (knowingly) volunteer information.

So tonight, before setting out to create a new Google account, I wanted to do something to prevent the Googlemind from figuring out that Arthur Kingman (not the name I used) was really me. It seemed like a pretty easy quest: I was looking for a plugin for my browser that would cause it to send slightly different information each time it made a request.

I found one (I think) — FireGlove for Firefox. I didn’t realize just how off Firefox I am until I was faced with the dilemma of using Firefox with this privacy plugin or using Opera naked. I never use Opera, so if I’m diligent and only use Opera in privacy mode when acting as my new alter ego it will be difficult for them to connect the dots. It’s inevitable, though, that at some point I will mess up.

It seems like there should be fingerprint randomizers for every browser. Maybe I’m just not looking in the right places. Anyone out there know where I might find one for any given browser?

2 thoughts on “Fingerprints

  1. maybe… try… signing up using it completely anonymizes you, regardless of your browser. i don’t know how it handles complicated page-changing and caching and craziness like signing up for a service, though.

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