Are you protected against online tracking? The EFF's Cover Your Tracks site has the answer

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 28, 2020

Cover Your Tracks is an online test by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to determine how well a browser is protecting user data against online tracking.

When you connect to a site using a browser, information is revealed to the site automatically. Sites may run scripts to gather additional information about the device that is used, and all of that may be used to track users across the Internet.

Cover Your Tracks is based on EFF's Panopticlick tool that the organization launched in 2010 and updated in 2015. Panopticlick redirects users to the new Cover Your Tracks tool automatically.

A click on the "test your browser" button on the site runs a quick check that determines the following:

  1. Is the browser blocking advertisement?
  2. Is the browser blocking trackers.
  3. Is the browser unblocking third-parties that honor Do Not Track?
  4. Has the browser a unique fingerprint?

The test results are displayed on a single page right after the test.

cover your tracks chrome

While the information that the test provides may be revealing on its own, it is the explanation of the results that may be most useful to Internet users.

One of the main differences between Panopticlick and Cover Your Tracks is that the latter's aim is to go a step further than the former. Panopticlick displayed whether a browser's fingerprint was unique, and Cover Your Tracks lifts the curtain by revealing all the bits of data that the browser reveals that contribute to the fingerprint.

Based on the findings, users may change browser settings or install browser extensions to limit online tracking. The EFF recommends using the organization's own Privacy Badger application to combat online trackers, and to use a browser, e.g. Brave, that has fingerprint-protection built-in and enabled.

Third-party extensions such as NoScript, uBlock Origin, or Canvas Blocker may also be used to limit online tracking.

It is a good idea to re-run the test after modifying browser settings or installing extensions to see how the changes affect online tracking and the fingerprint of the browser.

fingerprint brave

The EFF notes that its test does not cover all tracking and fingerprinting techniques that sites may use for online tracking.

Now You: do you use online tests to determine if you can be tracked online? What do you use to combat tracking?

Are you protected against online tracking? The EFF's Cover Your Tracks site has the answer
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Are you protected against online tracking? The EFF's Cover Your Tracks site has the answer
Cover Your Tracks is an online test by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to determine how well a browser is protecting user data against online tracking. 
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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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