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Traces of the Trackers. Tracking the Trackers: A historical analysis using the Internet Archive
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Traces of the Trackers. Tracking the Trackers: A historical analysis using the Internet Archive

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  • Not all types of trackers might be detected using the Internet Archive. For example, widgets are not possible because they are “embedded” into the page (third party content/snippet of code).\nWhat we can detect are trackers that leave fingerprints that are “hardwired” into the source code of a website.\n
  • a fingerprint\n
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  • Small decrease. Hypothesis: Changing tracking technologies: moving to third party such as widgets. The character of the trackers may be changing over years. Or: Media-concentration. \n
  • Proliferation of trackers types. New tracker (types) over the years. \n
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Traces of the Trackers. Tracking the Trackers: A historical analysis using the Internet Archive Traces of the Trackers. Tracking the Trackers: A historical analysis using the Internet Archive Presentation Transcript

  • Traces of the Trackers Tracking the Trackers: A historical analysis using the Internet Archive Digital Methods Summer School 2012Anne Helmond, Hugo Huurdeman, Thaer Samar, Nili Steinfeld, Lonneke van der Velden
  • natively digital archived objects“one archives the website over the referencescontained therein (hyperlinks), the systems thatdelivered them (engines), the ecology in whichthey may or may not thrive (the sphere) andthe pages or accounts contained therein thatkeep the user actively grooming his or heronline profile and status (the platform).” Rogers, Richard. Digital Methods. MIT Press (forthcoming)
  • tracing ecologiesThis research project looks at a specificarchived object: tracker fingerprints.In this research we would like to look at theecologies websites may be embedded inbeyond traditional hyperlinks, engines, spheresand platforms. What are other natively digitalarchived objects that we can study, and can wemap website ecologies around websitesthrough ‘invisible’ back-end linking?
  • Methodology1. WayBack Machine, select 1 year > Internet Archive URL into LinkRipper2. Clean URL list, one URL per day3. IA URLs per year into Tracker Tracker tool4. Analyze and visualize results
  • total number of unique trackers per year
  • Gephi movie over time: Trackers on the New York Times front page 2001-2011
  • Further research• “Back-fingerprint” old trackers > add new old tracker fingerprints to track• Repeat for a set of websites• Changing characteristics of tracking technologies• Look into media-concentration: who owns which trackers?• Which other types of media ecologies can we map using the Internet Archive?