The Princeton Web Transparency and Accountability Project

Arvind Narayanan, Dillon Reisman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

When you browse the web, hidden “third parties” collect a large amount of data about your behavior. This data feeds algorithms to target ads to you, tailor your news recommendations, and sometimes vary prices of online products. The network of trackers comprises hundreds of entities, but consumers have little awareness of its pervasiveness and sophistication. This chapter discusses the findings and experiences of the Princeton Web Transparency Project (https://webtap.princeton.edu/ ), which continually monitors the web to uncover what user data companies collect, how they collect it, and what they do with it. We do this via a largely automated monthly “census” of the top 1 million websites, in effect “tracking the trackers”. Our tools and findings have proven useful to regulators and investigatory journalists, and have led to greater public awareness, the cessation of some privacy-infringing practices, and the creation of new consumer privacy tools. But the work raises many new questions. For example, should we hold websites accountable for the privacy breaches caused by third parties? The chapter concludes with a discussion of such tricky issues and makes recommendations for public policy and regulation of privacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationStudies in Big Data
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Pages45-67
Number of pages23
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NameStudies in Big Data
Volume32
ISSN (Print)2197-6503
ISSN (Electronic)2197-6511

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Artificial Intelligence

Keywords

  • Federal Trade Commission
  • Online Tracking
  • Price Discrimination
  • Real Identity
  • Word Embedding

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