You’re being tracked — and disabling cookies won’t help
An interesting — or alarming — new service from the EFF, Panopticlick, tests your web browser to see if it is unique. It probably isn’t, meaning that even if you disable cookies, you are easily identifiable.
According to their recently published report, information about your web browser’s plug-ins, your computer’s fonts and screen size, and your time zone are all easily available, and together mean that “almost all browsers are uniquely fingerprintable”:
“If we ask whether a fact about a person identifies that person, it turns out that the answer isn't simply yes or no. If all I know about a person is their ZIP code, I don't know who they are. If all I know is their date of birth, I don't know who they are. If all I know is their gender, I don't know who they are. But it turns out that if I know these three things about a person, I could probably deduce their identity! Each of the facts is partially identifying.”
Update 2 August: just tested Panopticlick again in order to add the screenshot above. Apparently, only one in 1,115,573 web browsers has the same combination of plugins as my version of Safari.