01 Aug Researchers Reveal ‘Anonymous’ Clickstream Data Can Easily Be Linked to Users
According to German researchers Svea Eckert and Andreas Dewes, clickstreams gathered by companies to analyze user browsing activity can easily be exploited to identify users.
Clickstreams are comprehensive records that show what users browse online. These are gathered by companies to optimize online ads for specific consumers, often claiming it’s anonymous and aggregated.
However, Eckert and Dewes warned that clickstreams must be protected, citing proof that the data could easily be traced back to actual people. The study revealed that in most cases, clickstreams were easy to figure out because they led to people’s personal social media pages that immediately showed who they were.
After the study, Eckert and Dewes deleted the data they acquired, stating they were afraid that the powerful personalities they identified could trace them back.
The findings were formally presented at the recent DefCon convention in Las Vegas this weekend.
Source: BBC News