The agenda for the seminar is listed below.
Speaker: Marjan Falahrastegar
Title: Quantification of ID Sharing within the Web Ecosystem from The Edge
Third-party trackers have become the uninvited guests in our daily browsing experience. However, our understanding of the third-party ecosystem, and in particular their interwo- ven connections remain rudimentary. In this paper we exam- ine the global presence of third-party trackers by performing measurements from 28 countries across the globe. We ob- serve a strong presence of the trackers, from globally active ones to country-specific ones. This observation motivates us to further explore the connections amongst all parties of this ecosystem, especially focusing on how trackers share user IDs. We record the browsing history of more than 100 users for more than two weeks, and identify ID sharing groups that we suspect are used to track specific users. We explore the nature of sharing groups, by investigating the organisa- tional as well as the categorical relation between the mem- bers of ID sharing groups. We identified a significant amount of ID sharing across different organisations. Similar to our observation at the organisational level, we observed a signif- icant presence of domains from different categories within ID sharing groups. Overall, our observations of ID sharing uncover a large ecosystem of organisations that tracks and shares information about users. However, both our passive and active measurements from end-users’ perspective do not provide sufficient evidence to understand what this ecosys- tem is doing with the user information. We believe that our work reveals the huge gap between what is known about user tracking and what is done by this complex and important ecosystem.
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Venue: Eng. 209
Time and Date: 2 to 3 PM, Wednesday, 01/07/15.
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