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Comprehensive analysis of web privacy and anonymous web browsers: are next generation services based on collaborative filtering? (2008)

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The web has become a generic platform and takes a serious place in the everyday life of the digital age’s citizens. Several life-like transactions can be done on the web such as browsing items in a web shop, executing financial transactions, booking hotel rooms, while users require a high level of privacy, meaning as strong as they were committing these actions in real life.

However, privacy on the web is not as strong as it is desired to be. Browsing items on web shops, or reading on-line magazines should be done anonymously if desired, but in many cases users are being observed and information is collected for profiling purposes. In most cases these profiles are later being used for direct marketing implying targeted advertising, dynamic pricing. Although user profiles can also be useful in determining content relevancy or in creating customized services.

Privacy enhancing technologies (PET) are the solution against privacy vulnerabilities. The necessity of privacy enhancing technologies for the Internet emerged in the early beginnings and since solutions evolve, however, there are still a lot of open questions.

On the web anonymous web browsers represent the complex solution for sustaining anonymity and defending privacy. In this paper after outlining the current problems of web privacy and analysis of anonymous web browsers, we recommend a new solution based on collaborative filtering. This next generation service does not presume the existence of a semantic web, instead offering the possibility to create it, while it also strengthens user privacy by providing anonymous web surfing.

We structure this paper as follows. In order to determine how seriously user privacy is endangered on the web, in Section 2 we discuss web privacy issues by inspecting participants concerned in violating user privacy and primal techniques. As a summary at the end of the section we propose a criterion determining the proper conditions for achieving anonymity.

Anonymous web browsing services provide preceding solutions for the yielding privacy vulnerabilities. In Section 3 we present the architecture of today’s anonymous web browsing services, and publish a short taxonomy for classifying such service types, including a comparison as well.

In Section 4 we suggest a solution describing how collaborative filtering should be applied to anonymous web browsers. In this section we analyze possible investors and examine moral questions raised as well. Finally, we give a conclusion about our work in this paper.

Source: In Proceedings of the Joint SPACE and TIME Workshops 2008 (pp. 17-32). Trondheim, Norway: CEUR-WS.



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