Tracking Excavator: Uncovering Tracking in the Web's Past


Adam Lerner, Anna Kornfeld Simpson, Tadayoshi Kohno, and Franziska Roesner

Security & Privacy Research Lab, Department of Computer Science & Engineering, University of Washington



Research Paper

This work is described in the following research paper:

Internet Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Trackers: An Archaeological Study of Web Tracking from 1996 to 2016 [PDF]
Adam Lerner*, Anna Kornfeld Simpson*, Tadayoshi Kohno, and Franziska Roesner (*Co-first authors listed in alphabetical order)
In Proceedings of the 25th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security 16), August 2016

BibTeX (from USENIX website):

@inproceedings {197133,
	author = {Adam Lerner and Anna Kornfeld Simpson and Tadayoshi Kohno and Franziska Roesner},
	title = {Internet Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Trackers: An Archaeological Study of Web Tracking from 1996 to 2016},
	booktitle = {25th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security 16)},
	year = {2016},
	month = Aug,
	address = {Austin, TX},
	url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/usenixsecurity16/technical-sessions/presentation/lerner},
	publisher = {USENIX Association},
}


Our Previous Work

This work builds on our previous work on web tracking:

ShareMeNot: Balancing Privacy and Functionality of Third-Party Social Widgets [PDF]
Franziska Roesner, Christopher Rovillos, Tadayoshi Kohno, and David Wetherall
USENIX ;login: Magazine, August 2012
Associated Software: ShareMeNot (now integrated with the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Privacy Badger)

Detecting and Defending Against Third-Party Tracking on the Web [PDF]
Franziska Roesner, Tadayoshi Kohno, and David Wetherall
In Proceedings of the 9th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI), April 2012
Associated Software: TrackingObserver


Paper Figures

Referrer Graphs (Figure 12)

Figure 12 in our paper visually depicts the connections between entities in the tracking ecosystem. We have larger SVG versions of these graphs available below. Domains are nodes, and referral relationships are edges. Note that the visual organization of these graphs (with nodes in multiple tiers) is not meaningful and simply an artifact of the graph visualization software. Over time, the complexity and interconnectedness of relationships between third-party domains on the top 450 websites has increased dramatically.


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