The Rise of Panopticons: Examining Region-Specific Third-Party Web Tracking

Abstract : Today’s web has a huge, diverse ecosystem of third-party websites collecting information about users and providing them with content such as targeted advertisements. In this paper we study this ecosystem of third-party websites. We sample every continent, targeting the 500 most popular websites in the US, UK, Australia, China, Egypt, Iran and Syria. This allows us to contrast the commonplace, westerndominated views of the web with less studied countries. We find 2,097 third-party web services, reflecting the diversity of services and types of application/content they involve, e.g., advertisement, ad trackers, CDNs, news, sport, and pornography. We find those third-party web services offering ad tracking services to be the most prevalent. In addition to the usual suspects (e.g., DoubleClick and Google), we find a rich ecosystem of local third-party websites that are country and language dependent
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Marjan Falahrastegar, Hamed Haddadi, Steve Uhlig, Richard Mortier. The Rise of Panopticons: Examining Region-Specific Third-Party Web Tracking. 6th International Workshop on Traffic Monitoring and Analysis (TMA), Apr 2014, London, United Kingdom. pp.104-114, ⟨10.1007/978-3-642-54999-1_9⟩. ⟨hal-01396476⟩

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