How Do Companies Track your Movement Through their Websites?

Ever wondered how your website activities are tracked by the likes of Google, Facebook, Apple (to name a few)?

This Article explains exactly how it is done.

WARNING!  THE TRUTH MAY BE A LITTLE SCARY!!!

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What happens?
When you go onto a website, information about your Browser Type, Device and Operating System are stored as a cookie in your browser as something called a “User Agent”.  This User Agent/Cookie has a unique key attached to it which is then tracked through the web-pages of that site.

Consequences
Now this is the scary part, 

This information is stored as a cookie in your browser and will stay there until you delete your cookie information.  If you never empty your stored cookie information and keep the same computer then chances are that this “User Agent” will be permanently with you.  If you delete all your cookies then go back onto a website then a new “User Agent” will automatically be created for you pretty much immediately and this is just one type of cookie information that is collected.
What is more, this information is collated by companies like Google and will be shared across the entire business which in this case is globally.  It is also common for companies to have data sharing agreements with each other so who knows where your “User Agent” information goes.

Video Tutorial
The video below shows how you can use Python to access your unique cookie key.
The source code is below.

How to delete your cookies?
Luckily it is very easy to delete your cookies. (I will use Chrome as an example).

Step 1: Go to History (Chrome = CTRL + H)
Step 2: Click on “Clear Browsing Data”
Step 3: Make Sure that “Cookies and other Site Data” is Checked
Step 4: Click “Clear Data” and wait for it to finish!

What is your “User Agent”?
If you want to know what your “User Agent” is then go to this website:
https://www.whatismybrowser.com/detect/what-is-my-user-agent

Source Code for Tutorial
import requests as r

url = “http://www.google.com”

cookie_simulation={“User-Agent”:”Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 9_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/601.1.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/9.0 Mobile/13B143 Safari/601.1 (compatible; AdsBot-Google-Mobile; +http://www.google.com/mobile/adsbot.html)”}

x = r.get(url,headers=cookie_simulation)

print(x.cookies)

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