Skip to main content

DEEPLINKS BLOG

Panopticlick 2.0 Launches, Featuring New Tracker Protection and Fingerprinting Tests

December 17, 2015

Today we're launching version 2.0 of our tracking and fingerprinting detection tool, Panopticlick. This version brings new tests to our existing tool, such as canvas and touch-capability fingerprinting, updating its ability to uniquely identify browsers with current techniques. In addition, we're adding a brand new suite of tests that detect how well your browser and extensions are protecting you from (1) tracking by ads; (2) from tracking by invisible beacons; and also (3) whether they encourage compliance with the Do Not Track policy, which EFF and a coalition of allies launched earlier this year. We've also redesigned the site look and feel, including friendlier layout on mobile devices. If your browser lacks protections, Panopticlick 2.0 will recommend installing tools that are available on your platform, such as Privacy Badger, Disconnect or AdBlock, in order to get better protections as you navigate the Web.

Try Panopticlick 2.0

Nearly six years ago, EFF launched the original Panopticlick, a website that allowed users to gather information on how unique – and trackable – their browsers are. By using web headers, JavaScript and plugins, to measure visitors' settings, we were able to confirm that millions of browsers across the globe had unique fingerprints which could be used by tracking companies to follow them around the Web, even if they blocked cookies or hid their IP addresses. Panopticlick continues to be used by hundreds of thousands of people every month to determine just how much identifiable information their settings and configuration exposes. Shortly after the initial launch, we were able to determine that 84% of users were uniquely identifiable by their browsers alone, without ever logging in to a user account. In the last six years, novel techniques such as canvas fingerprinting have allowed trackers to spy on users more effectively than ever before. The use of anonymity software such as Tor Browser mitigates the effectiveness of fingerprinting by delivering the same headers for every browser, removing plugins, and limiting de-anonymizing JavaScript techniques. In version 2.0, we've included simplified the results from the fingerprinting tests to make them more understandable (you can still click through to the comprehensive results).

Our new tracker- and ad-blocker detection tool gives results for how well your browser is protecting you in three categories. Firstly, it lets you know if you're protected from invisible trackers that are included on many sites without users being aware of them. Secondly, whether you're protected from ads that track you across different domains. And thirdly, it tests if ad companies that promise not to track users by complying with our Do Not Track policy are unblocked by the browser, which gives these companies the incentive to do the right thing. We test the effectiveness of your protection by creating a number of domains that mimic real trackers, observing if resources on these domains are loaded or not. When the test is finishes, we present the users with a simple, informative table indicating their level of protection, with helpful suggestions when their protection isn't adequate.

Finally, we've completely rewritten the back-end code in Python and open sourced the project so that you can see how it works yourself!

Visit panopticlick.eff.org to test how well your own browser is protecting you!

JavaScript license information