The Case for a General and Interaction-Based Third-Party Cookie Policy

TitleThe Case for a General and Interaction-Based Third-Party Cookie Policy
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsAkkus, I. Ekin, & Weaver N.
Other Numbers3793

The privacy implications of third-party tracking is a well-studied problem. Recent research has shown that besides data aggregators and behavioral advertisers, online social networks also act as trackers via social widgets. Existing cookie policies are not enough to solve these problems, pushing users to employ blacklist-based browser extensions to prevent such tracking. Unfortunately, such approaches require maintaining and distributing blacklists, which are often too general and adversely affect non-tracking services for advertisements and analytics. In this paper, we propose and advocate for a general third-party cookie policy that prevents third-party tracking with cookies and preserves the functionality of social widgets without requiring a blacklist and adversely affecting non-tracking services. We implemented a proof-of-concept of our policy as browser extensions for Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. To date, our extensions have been downloaded about 11.8K times and have over 2.8K daily users combined.

Bibliographic Notes

Proceedings of the Workshop on Web 2.0 at the 36th IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, San Jose, California

Abbreviated Authors

I. E. Akkus and N. Weaver

ICSI Research Group

Networking and Security

ICSI Publication Type

Article in conference proceedings