Inside the Cookie Jar: Measuring the Use of Cookies in the Wild

Roberto GonzalezRoberto Gonzalez

NEC Labs Europe

Thursday, May 7, 2015
4:00 p.m., ICSI Lecture Hall

With online advertising being a fundamental part of the Internet's funding, the tracking of users has been widely used in order to generate user profiles that are used to target the correct ad to the correct user. Since its invention twenty years ago, the cookie has become the standard way to identify people online. Furthermore, in recent years the use of controversial techniques such as cookie matching, flash cookies and browser fingerprinting has become an important risk to the users' interests for whom it is becoming more and more difficult to protect their online privacy.

The behavior of the ISPs in this matter has a key importance since the users trust them to carry all their traffic. Nevertheless, we can find some instances of ISPs trying to jump into the advertising market in various controversial ways. We aim to investigate two sides of this problem. On the one hand, we try to understand how users can be protected against online tracking, while on the other hand we explore how to add value to the users data’ carried by the ISP without disturbing the users.


Dr. Roberto Gonzalez received his MSc in Telematic Engineering from Polytechnic University of Cataluña and Carlos III University of Madrid and his PhD in Telematic Engineering from Carlos III University of Madrid in 2011 and 2014, respectively. Since July 2014 he is a research scientist at NEC Laboratories Europe. His research interests are online privacy, social networks and network measurements with a special focus on the data analytics part. He has published more than 10 papers in leading venues in web conferences (WWW, COSN) and networking conferences (TON, IEEE Networks, Computer Networks, GLOBECOM, P2P).