Internet tracking, tracing, profiling … and manipulation?

VIScon Symposium, ETH Zurich, 05. - 10.10.2020

Update (new dates): VIScon Digital 2020 at ETH HG and At Home, 5. - 10. October 2020

ETH Hauptgebäude (HG):
HG building at ETH, Rämistrasse 101, 8006 Zurich.


Upon invitation to participate in the Call for Proposals, more specifically, to propose a talk on the subject of “Tracking”, the following tentative abstract was submitted (updated):

Tracking, the practice of collecting user data when browsing or using apps, may be perceived as a side effect of any internet usage. Tracking-based profiling is seemingly unnoticeable. Thus, individualised advertisement or behavioural targeting may not necessarily worry users.

However, research suggests that the lack of transparency yields to information asymmetry between trackers and everyone else. Some allege that targeted advertising is not limited to the commercial sphere. They argue that manipulation, i. e. violation of the target’s autonomy, may render some people vulnerable to the whims of those who control the tracking and profiling apparatus.

This talk will give an introduction to some tracking, tracing and profiling methods. How does tracking differ from tracing? Should concerned users grapple with technical remedies? Conversely, should providers assume tracking to be effective? Is “Everyone Else Does It” a reasonable business practice? Could companies gain competitive advantages by standing out from the crowd?

Presentation slides

If the organiser intends to make slides or other media available for this talk, they will be published here after the event (or at the host’s website). Please bear with us, i. e. it will likely take some time.

Falls vorgesehen ist die Präsentation bzw. sind die Dokumente nach dem Vortragsdatum bei der Veranstalterin oder hier verfügbar.