Tracking Website Data-Collection and Privacy Practices with the iWatch Web Crawler

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by Carlos Jensen et. al

The paper presents a approach for analyzing the privacy practice of Web sites. The iWatch crawler garners information regarding

  • Cookies (1st/3rd party)
  • unsolicited popus
  • Webbugs (1 pixel graphics)
  • Banners
  • P3P policies (http-header, in page compact P3P policies, known locations)
  • Privacy Seals (TRUSTe, BBBOnline, and WebTrust, ...)
  • Data-sharing networks (A collection of techniques used to track users across sites)
  • Link structure (to derive relationships between sites) and
  • Geographic information - GeoIP

The approach sounds quite interesting and delivers some profound statistical data.