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Re: User-Agent strings, privacy and Debian browsers

On Sep 22, Marco D'Itri <md@Linux.IT> wrote:

> On Sep 22, Peter Eckersley <pde@eff.org> wrote:
> > This means, in practice, that many sites will be able to track
> > Debian users by their User-Agent, even if (say) the user is blocking
> > cookies or limiting them to a single session and is changing IP
> > address regularly.
> This is highly debateable. There may be tens or thousands of users of
> the same package visiting a web site.

I've seen reports from very large sites indicating that User-Agent
strings are almost as useful as cookies for tracking their users.

> > Would there be any serious harm in terms of browser debugging?  Are
> Yes. For no real gain, it would make debugging harder and make
> statistics much less useful.
When do you need statistics about how many Debian users are using which
versions of which browser package?

As for debugging, I agree that there's an issue here, which is why I
asked the question.  But some evidence would be useful... does anyone
know any browser or site bugs that have been solved because the site
operator could see the version of a random visiting Debian browser?

Peter Eckersley                            pde@eff.org
Staff Technologist                Tel  +1 415 436 9333 x131
Electronic Frontier Foundation    Fax  +1 415 436 9993

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