Tracking the Trackers: Ethical measurements of web privacy leakages in-the-wild
22 June, 14:00 BST @ WebSci 2021

Nishanth Sastry, Guillermo Suarez De Tangil, Nicolas Kourtellis, Mainack Mondal, Xuehui (Rachel) Hu, Pushkal Agarwal
University of Surrey, IMDEA Networks, King’s College London, Telefonica Research, IIT Kharagpur

First introduced in the mid-nineties as a way of recording client-side state, cookies have proliferated widely on the Web, and have become a fundamental part of the Web ecosystem. However, there is widespread concern that cookies are being abused to track and profile individuals online for commercial, analytical and various other purposes. Consequently, there has been an explosion of research into understanding the prevalence of tracking on the Web, and the resulting leakage of Personally Identifiable Information (PII). In this tutorial, we aim to introduce the audience to state-of-the-art empirical measurement methods and techniques that are being used to understand and quantify web tracking in-the-wild.

Introduction (14:00 - 14:10 BST)

Types/means of tracking (Slides) (14:10 - 14:35 BST)

Ethical and privacy-preserving internet-mediated research (Slides) (15:00 - 15:35 BST)

Practical Session Teaser (15:35 - 15:45 BST)

Coffee Break (15:45 - 16:00 BST)

Practical Session

Hands-on experience into state-of-the-art tools and techniques, including some developed by the tutorial organisers as well as some instructions for our github repositories and datasets. Most of the online activities will involve some light python scripting on Google Collab. Familiarity with Python will be helpful but not required. We will also build a basic browser extension to measure web privacy. Familiarity with Javascript and HTML will be helpful for this. Optional requirements:

Automated measurements (Slides) (Installations) (Google Collab) (16:00 - 16:45 BST)

Human-centered measurements (Slides) (Download) (Google Collab) (16:45 - 17:30 BST)