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Tracking the cookies: A quantitative study on user perceptions about online tracking
2019 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Spårning av cookies : En kvantitativ studie om användares uppfattning om online spårning (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

Background. Cookies and third-party requests are partially implemented to en- hance user experience when traversing the web, without them the web browsing would be a tedious and repetitive task. However, their technology also enables com- panies to track users across the web to see which sites they visit, which items they buy and their overall browsing habits which can intrude on users privacy.

Objectives. This thesis will present user perceptions and thoughts on the tracking that occurs on their most frequently visited websites. The scope will cover some of the most prolific tracking technologies and the trackers found on the users top five visited websites. The aim of this study is to increase user awareness of online tracking as well as synthesising users view of tracking on their most visited sites and get a sense of the acceptability level of trackers.

Methods. The questions we aim to answer with this research; On a scale (1-5) how aware are users of web tracking on the websites they visit? and Which domains are using tracking services on websites that the user is currently active on? To do this the browser extension Privacy Badger’s source code was modified to enlighten users of trackers without blocking them. Along with this a questionnaire will be provided to gauge the users perceptions and awareness of online tracking.

Results. Our results show that users are generally aware that the sites they visit use tracking services. The experiment combined with our survey paints a convincing picture of the most prevalent tracking domains. Number one on this list being dou- bleclick.net which is owned by Google inc.

Conclusions. From this research we conclude that the average user is aware of tracking and one of the ways they combat this is by avoiding certain sites and using privacy add-ons. Furthermore online advertisement is a very big business and the list of tracking domains is extensive where some of them operate under the same parent company.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 32
Keywords [en]
Tracking, Cookies, Session, Internet
Keywords [sv]
Spårning, Kakor, Session, Internet
National Category
Computer Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-18443OAI: oai:DiVA.org:bth-18443DiVA, id: diva2:1335768
Subject / course
DV1478 Bachelor Thesis in Computer Science
Educational program
DVGIS Security Engineering
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-07-24 Created: 2019-07-07 Last updated: 2019-07-24Bibliographically approved

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Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Computer Sciences

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