Measuring surveillance in online advertising: a Big Data approach

Aaron Herps, Paul A. Watters, Guillermo Pineda-Villavicencio

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


There is an increasing public and policy awareness that tracking cookies are being used to support behavioral advertising, but the extent to which tracking is occurring is not clear. The extent of tracking could have implications for the enforceability of legislative responses to the sharing of personal data, including the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). In this paper, we develop a methodology for determining the prevalence of tracking cookies, and report the results for a sample of the 50 most visited sites by Australians. We find that the use of tracking cookies is endemic, but that distinct clusters of tracking can be identified across categories including search, pornography and social networking. The implications of the work in relation to privacy are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings: Fourth Cybercrime and Trustworthy Computing Workshop
Subtitle of host publicationCTC 2013
Place of PublicationPiscataway, USA
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781479930753
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventCybercrime and Trustworthy Computing Workshop (4th : 2013) - Sydney, NSW, Australia
Duration: 21 Nov 201322 Nov 2013


OtherCybercrime and Trustworthy Computing Workshop (4th : 2013)
Abbreviated titleCTC 2013
CitySydney, NSW


  • Behavioral Advertising
  • Cookies
  • Privacy
  • Social Media
  • Tracking


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