Elle Todd, my colleague in Europe, talks about how consumers are being tracked on the Web now that cookies are on their demise. Most people are not aware of what is known as "fingerprinting." It's not the traditional law enforcement way of tracking down criminals by lifting fingerprints off crime scenes. On the Web, fingerprinting is the collecting of information about settings on your browser or phone each time you use it. Advertisers and others interested in targeting specific demographics can link the interaction back to consumers. The article in Wired that quotes Elle is an excellent overview of what could be the next replacement for cookies. Or not if the GDPR and other privacy laws have something to say about it.
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Fingerprints and Cookies
In Europe fingerprinting falls under the same General Data Protection Regulation and marketing rules as cookies, says Elle Todd, a partner specializing in data and tech at law firm Reed Smith. European regulators have warned since 2014 that fingerprinting “presents serious data protection concerns,” and Todd says many websites don’t tell consumers that they may track people with fingerprinting. “I think that a lot of companies don't realize, and they think that this is a nice way to get around the cookie rules,” she says.