Your interests according to google-a profile-centered analysis for obfuscation of online tracking profiles

Martin Degeling, Thomas Herrmann

arXiv preprint arXiv:1601.06371


Profiling users for the purpose of targeted advertisements or other kinds of personalization is very popular on the internet. But besides the benefits of individually tailored news feeds and shopping recommendation research has shown that many users consider this practice as privacy infringement. Profiling is often conducted without consent and services offer neither information about what the profile looks like nor which effects it might have. In this paper we argue that understanding profiling and thus interacting with the resulting profiles fosters a privacy literacy that is necessary for users to stay autonomous in the information society. We analyze the extent of interest profiling by google and develop a countermeasures that helps to obfuscate these profiles. To do so we analyzed a links lists from a social bookmarking service with regard to the interests they reveal. We found that, although the profiling by google is very unstable we can still use the information to obfuscate the profile.