[LINK] 3rd party tracking cookies
stephen at melbpc.org.au
stephen at melbpc.org.au
Fri Jun 29 20:31:49 EST 2012
Study: 86% of top websites expose visitors to third-party tracking cookies
By Ellen Messmer (Network World) www.arnnet.com.au 28th June, 2012
How prevalent is the use of tracking cookies that get planted on your
computer after browsing a website so it can keep track of what you're
Turns out that not only do the major websites like to plant their own
tracking cookies on you, they're also happy to stick a lot of third-party
cookies on you, too.
According to Keynote Systems, an analysis it did of online behavioral
tracking on 269 top websites across four industries (news & media,
financial services, travel & hospitality, and retail) showed that 86% of
the sites place one or more third-party tracking cookies on their
Keynote Systems, whose long-time services include performance-monitoring
of websites, also says its study shows that 60% of these third-parties
had at least one tracker that didn't promise to comply with at least one
common tracking standard.
Keynote says that of the 211 third-party trackers it identified, "only
one committed to honor a visitor's request not to be tracked via the
new 'Do Not Track' feature." This gives consumers a way to opt out if
being tracked. Keynote says it also checked to figure out if there was
a "promise to anonymize data."
Keynote found that nearly all the websites in the "travel & hospitality"
and "news & media" categories have third-party tracking. The "news &
media" sites are said to "expose site visitors to an average 14 unique
third-party tracking companies during the course of a typical visit."
Keynote also adds that it was also "surprising" that three out of four
websites in the "financial services" category also "expose visitors to
Keynote Systems says the tracking phenomenon is all about advertising and
revenues that websites can pull in.
"Behavioral advertising, a common use of third-party tracking data, is an
increasingly common practice on the Web and one of the primary ways
websites fund their operations. Third-party trackers place cookies on the
browsers of site's visitors to track a user's clicks and path through the
Web. They can also make note of things like what the visitor buys and
where the visitor goes once they leave."
Ray Everett, Keynote's director of privacy services, says it all reflects
a "'wild West' mentality" and that "aggressive tracking companies" could
be placing website publishers in a difficult position and even exposing
them to legal risk. But he points out the "burden of policing third-party
trackers falls squarely on the shoulders of website publishers" because
they are clearly responsible for their content and brand reputation.
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