“Web Bugs”

You might ask, what is a “web bugs?” Web bugs are basically a way for third parties to track and collect user data from many popular web sites. I had not hear of web bugs before reading an article by the San Francisco Biz Journal. The shocking thing is that web site allow this tracking to occur.

Privacy Study Shows Google’s Eyes Are Everywhere
San Francisco Business Times – by Steven E.F. Brown
Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A U.C. Berkeley report shows that most Internet users don’t understand web site privacy policies, and that major online businesses like Google Inc. freely gather data and share it with affiliated businesses via loopholes in those policies.

Using trackers called “web bugs,” third parties collect user data from many popular web sites, and sites often allow this, even though their privacy policies say they don’t share user data with others.

“Web bugs from Google and its subsidiaries were found on 92 of the top 100 Web sites and 88 percent of the approximately 400,000 unique domains examined in the study,” the authors found.

Sites with the most web bugs were for blogging — blogspot and typepad were No. 1 and No. 2 on the list in March, and blogger was No. 4. Google itself was No. 3.

Ashkan Soltani, Travis Pinnick and Joshua Gomez of the university’s information school wrote the study, published Monday.

Read more

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About repplinger

John has served as a Reference Librarian at Willamette University since 2002. He is the liaison to the Science Departments, and is responsible for maintaining the collections related to the life & physical sciences. His research interests range over the entire spectrum of libraries and information sciences, but includes: - Google and its influence on information & society - The Internet's influence on information seeking & sharing behaviors - Trends of scholarly communication - Electronic learning environments - Traditional pedagogy - GIS use in academic libraries

Posted on June 11, 2009, in Privacy, Technology and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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