Synthoid: Endpoint user profile control

Marcel Flores*, Aleksandar Kuzmanovic

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Web tracking is a practice that has grown in scope and complexity as the Internet has expanded. In particular, advertising networks have been continually advancing web tracking in order to gather the most information on users. On the other hand, users have often reacted negatively to tracking schemes, expressing concern about their lack of control. We present Synthoid, a system which returns control to users, without a need for tracker cooperation or broad adoption. Synthoid achieves this by actively fetching content of a selected set of topics, imprinting the tracking network profile for the user with these topics. It eliminates the need for users to place trust in web trackers by directly controlling the signal trackers measure, without inconveniencing users. Additionally, as traffic is generated directly from the users' machines, Synthoid is able to function with any method of tracking, even those which use advanced techniques. We examine the effectiveness of Synthoid with real web trackers. We demonstrate that it is successfully able to imprint a target profile with low volume and when faced with significant interference. Finally, we show that it is able to entirely alter browsing profiles when run alongside user traces. The key behind Synthoid's performance is a strong, artificial, yet carefully constructed and semantically determined, signal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2014 IEEE/WIC/ACM International Joint Conference on Web Intelligence and Intelligent Agent Technology - Workshops, WI-IAT 2014
EditorsAndrzej Skowron, Lipika Dey, Adam Krasuski, Yuefeng Li
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages242-249
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781479941438
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 16 2014
Event2014 IEEE/WIC/ACM International Joint Conference on Web Intelligence and Intelligent Agent Technology - Workshops, WI-IAT 2014 - Warsaw, Poland
Duration: Aug 11 2014Aug 14 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings - 2014 IEEE/WIC/ACM International Joint Conference on Web Intelligence and Intelligent Agent Technology - Workshops, WI-IAT 2014
Volume2

Other

Other2014 IEEE/WIC/ACM International Joint Conference on Web Intelligence and Intelligent Agent Technology - Workshops, WI-IAT 2014
CountryPoland
CityWarsaw
Period8/11/148/14/14

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Software

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    Flores, M., & Kuzmanovic, A. (2014). Synthoid: Endpoint user profile control. In A. Skowron, L. Dey, A. Krasuski, & Y. Li (Eds.), Proceedings - 2014 IEEE/WIC/ACM International Joint Conference on Web Intelligence and Intelligent Agent Technology - Workshops, WI-IAT 2014 (pp. 242-249). (Proceedings - 2014 IEEE/WIC/ACM International Joint Conference on Web Intelligence and Intelligent Agent Technology - Workshops, WI-IAT 2014; Vol. 2). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.. https://doi.org/10.1109/WI-IAT.2014.104