It is well-known that webpages collect personal information about the user, but little is known about the European-wide patterns in this collection. Over a period of one year, this project examines the activity of so-called third-party servers during the user's visit to a webpage, using the OpenWPM platform. For the purpose +1300 websites from 41 European countries (both within and outside the EU) has been selected.
As Englehardt & Narayanan (2016) have shown, the number of third-party servers varies for different categories of webpages. News webpages are among those with the highest number, while webpages belonging to NGOs, universities and governments are among the those with the lowest number.
This research test that finding on a selection of European sites. Particularly, it examines webpages from public service media, as they could fall into both categories. The research furthermore aims to map the production ecology of the media and advertising websites, continuing research by Lindskow (2016).
Finally, as the EU privacy regulation "GDPR" comes into force in the project period, the research aims to detect possible changes in the behaviour of the third-party servers that can be correlated to GDPR.
In a series of measurements, we visit the selected +1300 websites from four locations: Denmark, Germany, Italy and Hong Kong.
The project is conducted in collaboration between Center for Communication, Media and Information technologies (CMI.aau.dk) at Aalborg University, Copenhagen, Denmark and Department Informatik at Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften, Hamburg, Germany (haw-hamburg.de)
Project Web Page: https://www.researchgate.net/project/European-Web-Privacy-Measurement
Englehardt, S., & Narayanan, A. (2016). Online Tracking. In Proceedings of the 2016 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security - CCS’16 (pp. 1388–1401). New York, New York, USA: ACM Press. https://doi.org/10.1145/2976749.2978313
Lindskow, K. (2016). Exploring Digital News Publishing Business Models - A Production Network Approach. Copenhagen Business School. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10398/9284