back to article Bitcoin-accepting sites leave cookie trail that crumbles anonymity

Bitcoin transactions might be anonymous, but on the Internet, its users aren't – and according to research out of Princeton University, linking the two together is trivial on the modern, much-tracked Internet. In fact, linking a user's cookies to their Bitcoin transactions is so straightforward, it's almost surprising it took …

  1. a_yank_lurker

    Privacy and Commercial Transactions

    At some point during a commercial transaction, one often has to provide details such as where to ship the the goods, a valid email address to receive codes, etc. when shopping online. It does not matter how one pays for it, these details are necessary for the vendor to consummate the transaction. By their very nature commercial transactions require some loss of absolute privacy.

    The only type transaction that is might have some guarantee not give away privacy is a cash transaction while picking up the product. Even here, store surveillance cameras will record you at the register and often will provide some details of what was purchased. The only difficulty is whether whether one can be readily identified by the cameras.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Privacy and Commercial Transactions

      If you buy via say Paypal there's no reason the retailer needs your name or email, since the necessary contact can go via Paypal. The shipping address is a problem, but theoretically it could be worked around if there was demand for it (i.e. Paypal works with USPS etc. to allow them to generate encrypted barcodes that USPS can read and prints a shipping label for the retailer to use that they can't read)

      Retailers want to know who their customers are, so they'd be pretty resistant to a system that took away that information. Apple successfully pushed them into accepting the loss of that information to support Apple Pay, but were only able to do that because of their scale. Paypal could enforce it, but would risk making room for a competitor that didn't handcuff the retailers.

      1. Adam 52 Silver badge

        Re: Privacy and Commercial Transactions

        "If you buy via say Paypal there's no reason the retailer needs your name or email"

        Nonetheless PayPal will give it to them anyway. The vast majority of my spam comes to my PayPal address. Hard to say whether that's due to incompetence or maliciousness.

    2. MOH

      Re: Privacy and Commercial Transactions

      The vendor needs to know. The various analytics and advertising tracking companies the vendor chooses to pass your personal information on to certainly don't need to know.

  2. mt_head

    I will give a rat's ass

    when this lack of anonymity leads to actual hard time for one or more of the ransomware a******s. Until then, like very nearly every other aspect of Bitcoin and its astounding bubble-like properties, color me unimpressed.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The real story is very few people understand blockchain

    when I say understand, I mean beyond marketing snake oil spin.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The table headers seem mixed up

    Your table indicates that tracking protection leads to a higher number of leaks than no tracking protection. However, the table in the paper shows the numbers the other way round.

  6. TrumpSlurp the Troll
    Paris Hilton

    Don't understand the table

    It seems to suggest that there is more tracking if you use tracking protection.

    Edit: just too slow. Beaten by AC.

  7. Miss_X2m1

    Cash is King!

    Cash is King!

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