Firefox 58: with opt in for Canvas fingerprinting


Firefox 58 vs. canvas fingerprinting: Firefox in the 58 version will be the first great browser to do something about fingerprinting. Canvas fingerprinting collection is used by websites to collect data from HTML elements. With the upcoming Firefox, you'll need to grant your permission before allowing data collection, as is the case with the Tor Browser.

The fingerprinting collection has started timidly, but it has reached a prominent position in recent years as an approach by companies that collect user tracking data without having to report it to the end user. Firefox 58

It works by watching the browser itself, rather than tracking a beacon placed in your browser, such as a cookie, a Flash LSO (local shared object), or a DOM store value.

Beacons can be blocked or deleted, while fingerprinting is not.

Browser fingerprints

The fingerprinting uses information that passively collects from your browser, such as the version number, the operating system, your screen resolution, the language, the list of browser plugins and the list of fonts you have installed.

There are many different ingredients that can be used to create a fingerprint, and the more ingredients are included, the easier it is to locate you.

One of the most popular components uses HTML canvas.

To Canvas fingerprinting is a surface that a browser can "paint."
Your browser gets instructions from websites to do something. Let's say an image extracted from the canvas goes through a fragmentation function that produces an identifier.

Different graphics cards and operating systems work slightly different, which means that if you give two different website visitors identical images (and same instructions), they will produce different identifiers.

Complex instructions can produce several ID variants, which makes it Canvas fingerprinting a powerful data collection tool.

The more complex the instructions, the easier it is to understand the differences between the browsers, and of course the identification of the end user.

To combat the Canvas fingerprint, Firefox developers chose the Tor Browser's opt-in approach instead of an absolute rejection of the fingerprint. We will see it live on the upcoming Firefox 58.

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