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Will blocking third party cookies prevent this? Or is this a server-to-server transfer of regular (second-party?) cookies?

Perhaps partially. Doesn't stop evercookies or IP address tracking or ever more inventive means.

Check out Pardot if you want to get an idea of what's possible. They drop a cookie on you the moment you browse the site and it logs every interaction you have with the site. When you finally sign up or fill in a form somewhere it'll associate those sessions with your new account and let you better target drip campaigns and market to them.

There's a lot of other ways to identify someone. It's like in Serenity -- everything has a fingerprint.

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