Three researchers of the UC Berkeley School of Information have published results of an Internet privacy study that analyzed web privacy, data collection and information sharing on today's Internet.
Interested users can download the full Internet privacy report from the project's website or view the majority of its findings directly on the website.
The researchers analyzed the four main areas consumer complaints, web bugs, privacy policies and affiliate, and divided results into key findings, recommendations and methodology.
There is also an introduction that provides you with background information about the research project and an analysis of the Internet's top 50 websites.
Some interesting findings of the Internet privacy study reveal that Google can track users on 92 of the 100 most visited websites on the Internet and still 88% of a total of 393,829 analyzed distinct domains. The high percentage is a combination of services owned by Google including Google Analytics, Google Adsense and DoubleClick to name a few.
Microsoft was the company on the second place with an appearance on 60% on the top 100 websites followed by Omniture and Quantcast with 57%. A similar observation was made in the Privacy Policies analysis.
All sites that make up the top 50 sites of the Internet collect user data and at least 46 share that data with affiliates without disclosing who those affiliates are.
The majority on the other hand claim to offer no access to the data to third parties which can be confusing for the user as affiliates are usually seen as third party from the user's point of view.
The Internet privacy study draws a grim picture of the state of today's online privacy and there are not many options from a user perspective to avoid privacy issues.
One option is to avoid services that are known for confusing or problematic privacy policies, another to use anonymization software to avoid some forms of detection.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.