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Re: ISSUE-5: What is the definition of tracking?

From: Nicholas Doty <npdoty@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2011 19:51:19 -0700
Cc: Jonathan Mayer <jmayer@stanford.edu>, David Wainberg <dwainberg@appnexus.com>, Sean Harvey <sharvey@google.com>, "public-tracking@w3.org Group WG" <public-tracking@w3.org>
Message-Id: <ED9AD580-84D6-4D7D-B34A-642C51462761@w3.org>
To: Amy Colando (LCA) <acolando@microsoft.com>
On Oct 28, 2011, at 7:06 AM, Amy Colando (LCA) wrote:

> Thanks Jonathan.  Isn’t it the case that these browser features would still have to be related to some sort of identifier – whether on client side or server side – in order for the information to be identifiable?  And therefore we can stick with pseudonymous, passively collected data?
>  
> IOW, if all I have is an aggregated laundry list of browser features that are used by multiple users, where there is no way to say that a set of browser features belongs to a particular record because of the way the identifiers have been removed or the log files scrubbed, then is there a way to relate to a specific identifier?  I think your example below requires the log files to associate the browser features to a particular record or browser, but wanted to make sure I am thinking about this correctly.

I think the point that Jonathan is making here is that, no, you don't need to associate that list of browser details to a particular identifier in order for the information to be pseudonymously identifiable. If you record the same browser details (or even a subset of those details) for future logs, then you or some malicious entity could reconstruct a pseudonymous history.

You might be interested in http://panopticlick.eff.org/ and the follow-up paper from Peter Eckersley.

(Apologies if I'm misunderstanding you here, Amy; if you're talking about aggregated records or scrubbing log files to remove records associated with a particular browser configuration, then the data may in fact not be easily re-identifiable.)

Thanks,
Nick
Received on Saturday, 29 October 2011 02:51:33 UTC

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