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David Norris wants to collect the digital equivalent of fingerprints from every computer, cellphone and TV set-top box in the world.
Tracking companies are now embracing fingerprinting partly because it is much tougher to block than other common tools used to monitor people online, such as browser "cookies," tiny text files on a computer that can be deleted.
BlueCava says the information it collects about devices can't be traced back to individuals and that it will offer people a way to opt out of being tracked. Still, Mr. Norris says it's tough to figure out how to alert people their devices are being fingerprinted. "We don't have all the answers, but we're just going to try to be really clear" about how the data is used, he says.