New research coming out of Princeton and Stanford in the United States shows that more than 70% of web users can be identified purely through public information found on their social media profiles.
The Stack reports that the study successfully reattached identities to 374 individual and supposedly anonymous browsers through links shared on Twitter.
“The test subjects were provided with a Chrome extension that extracted their browsing history,” says The Stack.
“Researchers then used Twitter’s proprietary URL-shortening protocol to identify t.co links. 81% of the top 15 results of each enquiry run through the de-anonymisation program contained the correct re-identified user – and 72% of the results identified the user in first place.”
The study does, however, note that if the linked Twitter profile is anonymous, more investigation must be done to uncover the identity.
The best defence against this kind of invasion of privacy, says one of the study’s contributors, would be to use the TOR browser.