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Swedes Online: You Are More Tracked Than You Think
Linköping University, Department of Computer and Information Science. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

When you are browsing websites, third-party resources record your online habits; such tracking can be considered an invasion of privacy. It was previously unknown how many third-party resources, trackers and tracker companies are present in the different classes of websites chosen: globally popular websites, random samples of .se/.dk/.com/.net domains and curated lists of websites of public interest in Sweden. The in-browser HTTP/HTTPS traffic was recorded while downloading over 150,000 websites, allowing comparison of HTTPS adaption and third-party tracking within and across the different classes of websites.

The data shows that known third-party resources including known trackers are present on over 90% of most classes, that third-party hosted content such as video, scripts and fonts make up a large portion of the known trackers seen on a typical website and that tracking is just as prevalent on secure as insecure sites.

Observations include that Google is the most widespread tracker organization by far, that content is being served by known trackers may suggest that trackers are moving to providing services to the end user to avoid being blocked by privacy tools and ad blockers, and that the small difference in tracking between using HTTP and HTTPS connections may suggest that users are given a false sense of privacy when using HTTPS.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 137 p.
Keyword [en]
measurement, security, privacy, internet, web, http, https, tracking, domains, web browser, website retrieval, redirects, privacy enhancing technologies, online advertising, web analytics, content blocking, google, facebook, twitter, adblock,, pjantomjs, http archive, alexa, sweden
National Category
Computer Science Media and Communication Technology Information Systems
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-117075ISRN: LIU-IDA/LITH-EX-A--15/007--SEOAI: diva2:807623
External cooperation
The Internet Infrastructure Foundation (.SE)
Subject / course
Computer science
2015-02-19, Alan Turing, House E, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden, 12:44 (English)

Source code, datasets, and a video recording of the presentation is available on the master's thesis website.

Available from: 2015-05-12 Created: 2015-04-15 Last updated: 2015-05-12Bibliographically approved

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