Web Identity Translator: Behavioral Advertising and Identity Privacy with WIT
Fotios Papaodyssefs, Costas Iordanou, Jeremy Blackburn, Nikolaos Laoutaris, Dina Papagiannaki.
HotNets-XIV Proceedings of the 14th ACM Workshop on Hot Topics in Networks, Nov 15
Online Behavioral Advertising (OBA) is an important revenue source for online publishers and content providers. However, the extensive user tracking required to enable OBA raises valid privacy concerns. Existing and proposed solutions either block all tracking, therefore breaking OBA entirely, or require significant changes on the current advertising infrastructure, making adoption hard. We propose Web Identity Translator (WIT), a new privacy service running as a proxy or middlebox. WIT stops the original tracking cookies from being set on the browser of users and instead substitutes them by private cookies it controls. Manipulating the mapping between tracking and private cookies WIT maintains permits transparent OBA to continue while simultaneously protecting the identity of users from attacks based on behavioral analysis of browsing patterns.