By tracking the trackers, we hope to not only illustrate how we are being tracked when we access websites, but to also inspire others to help us increase global transparency about online tracking and to contribute to the global debate on data politics.
If you are interested in helping us track the trackers, we would appreciate your support with (1) media list reviews, (2) running our software and/or (3) examining the privacy policies of tracking companies.
Read below for more details.
Media list reviews
If you're a media expert, a journalist or generally have good knowledge of the media in your country, we would appreciate your support with the following:
1. Find the list of media websites we have compiled for your country through the "verified" or "unverified" section of our repository on github. If you don't find a list of media websites for your country on our github repository, please help us create one.
2. Once you have access to the list of media websites for your country, please help us review it through the following:
Add missing websites to the list which cover the news, are of public interest and which are regularly accessed by most individuals on a national or regional level in your country
Delete websites from the list which are not regularly updated, do not necessarily cover the news and are not regularly accessed by most individuals on a national or regional level in your country
Separate the following in our lists:
National media websites
Regional media websites
Blogs covering the news
Please refrain from adding news sources from Facebook, as it is one of the main tracking companies that we are interested in detecting.
Running our software
If you are a Linux user, we would really appreciate your support with running our software. It's quite easy and details about how to run it can be viewed through our repository on github.
Once you have installed the script, you can run the following:
./perform_analysis.py -c name-of-the-country-you-are-located-in
python2 perform_analysis.py -c name-of-the-country-you-are-located-in
You can run the software in the country that you are located in, based on its list of media websites. Please search for your country's list of media websites in the verified or unverified media sections.
If the media list of your country is in neither of these sections or currently unverified, please feel free to find someone with good knowledge of the media in your country to help us create and review a list before you run the software.
Please refrain from running the software over the following:
Tor: Our software performs traceroutes which cannot run over Tor. If the software is run over Tor, the web connection would appear from a different network point than the traceroutes and would lead to inaccurate results.
Network filtering ICMP packets: A traceroute receives ICMP time exceeded packets and the results will be incomplete if the software is run over network filtering ICMP packets. This is displayed by the software.
Internet lines with a lot of packet loss (WiFi/WiMax which is far from the access point): A traceroute is based on a protocol which does not support re-transmission and if the software is run over Internet lines with a lot of packet loss, the possibility of having incomplete results would be high.
If you would like to run the software over a VPN, please specify the country of your endpoint in the required field right before you start running the software. For example, if you are based in the United States but your VPN ends in Sweden, please specify the country with "-c sweden". It is also recommended that you also add the option "-i".
Once you have run the software, the results will automatically be transmitted to our server. If you would like to prevent your collected data from automatically being transmitted to our server, please add the option "-d".
Examining the privacy policies of tracking companies
If you are a lawyer, policy wonk or generally someone who has an interest in reading and analysing privacy policies, we would really appreciate your support with the following:
1. Review of the data we have collected from tracking companies' privacy policies on our repository on github
2. Edits/updates on the data we have collected from tracking companies' privacy policies on our repository on github
3. Suggestions for a better data collection methodology based on tracking companies' privacy policies
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
pub 3200R/0x94E7EF47 2014-08-05 [expires: 2015-08-30]
Key fingerprint = ABC2 7639 5EE3 3245 A0A1 3973 40E2 6C25 94E7 EF47
uid TrackMap project <email@example.com>
sub 3200R/0x504DEBDF 2014-08-05 [expires: 2015-08-30]