Who is following me : tracking the trackers Thumbnail
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Internet Governance 8 November 2012

Who is following me : tracking the trackers

This is a very interesting workshop and the panelists have been great so far and honestly it’s been marvelous so far. The questions have been quite reflecting and a question just showed up about “What can users do to know whether they are being tracked?”

A sharing of information about indian experience about mobile details and an app that can make a difference and it is an NGO which made a difference. To note that there are variety of tools that help evaluate and determine what “THEY” know.

As people increasingly rely on the Internet to deliver downloadable music, movies, and television, content producers are faced with the problem of increasing Internet piracy. To protect their content, copyright holders police the Internet, searching for unauthorized distribution of their work on websites like YouTube or peer-to-peer networks such as BitTorrent. When infringement is (allegedly) discovered, formal complaints are issued to network operators that may result in websites being taken down or home Internet connections being disabled.

Although the implications of being accused of copyright infringement are significant, very little is known about the methods used by enforcement agencies to detect it, particularly in P2P networks.

I think there are basically five ways in which a user’s identity may be associated with third-party web tracking data.

  • A third party is also a first party, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.
  • A first party hands off (“leaks”) identifying information to a third party.
  • A third party buys identifying information from a “matching service.”
  • A third party exploits a security vulnerability to learn a user’s identity.
  • A third party “deanonymizes” its data by matching it against identified data.

From a legal perspective, identifying information leakage is a debacle. Many first-party websites make what would appear to be incorrect, or at minimum misleading, representations about not sharing PII.

So realistically it is an important thing, but you have to give it to the trackers, they need to survive as well. Perhaps again the the world of marketing and undersgesstion is making a new way. So the question remains… are our users really understanding the point that your privacy is really affected. These are personal views. But the debate has been quite interesting.


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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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