MyTrackingChoices: Pacifying the Ad-Block War by Enforcing User Privacy Preferences

Jagdish Prasad Achara 1 Javier Parra-Arnau 1 Claude Castelluccia 1
1 PRIVATICS - Privacy Models, Architectures and Tools for the Information Society
Inria Grenoble - Rhône-Alpes, CITI - CITI Centre of Innovation in Telecommunications and Integration of services
Abstract : Free content and services on the Web are often supported by ads. However, with the proliferation of intrusive and privacy-invasive ads, a significant proportion of users have started to use ad blockers. As existing ad blockers are radical (they block all ads) and are not designed taking into account their economic impact, ad-based economic model of the Web is in danger today. In this paper, we target privacy-sensitive users and provide them with fine-grained control over tracking. Our working assumption is that some categories of web pages (for example, related to health, religion, etc.) are more privacy-sensitive to users than others (education, science, etc.). Therefore, our proposed approach consists in providing users with an option to specify the categories of web pages that are privacy-sensitive to them and block trackers present on such web pages only. As tracking is prevented by blocking network connections of third-party domains, we avoid not only tracking but also third-party ads. Since users will continue receiving ads on web pages belonging to non-sensitive categories, our approach essentially provides a trade-off between privacy and economy. To test the viability of our solution, we implemented it as a Google Chrome extension, named MyTrackingChoices (available on Chrome Web Store). Our real-world experiments with MyTrackingChoices show that the economic impact of ad blocking exerted by privacy-sensitive users can be significantly reduced.
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Submitted on : Thursday, April 14, 2016 - 5:07:08 PM
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Jagdish Prasad Achara, Javier Parra-Arnau, Claude Castelluccia. MyTrackingChoices: Pacifying the Ad-Block War by Enforcing User Privacy Preferences. 2016. ⟨hal-01302613⟩

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