Thursday, October 22nd, 2020

Your Personal Info Leaked by 61% of Websites

Published on October 13, 2011 by   ·   No Comments

* Reviewing 185 largest websites, 61 percent release usernames.
* Previous study found 56 percent of 120 websites reviewed released some sort of information.
* Usernames, thanks to social networks, give people easy access to full names, photo and other information.
* Just by clicking on a Home Depot ad, 13 different sites received user first name and email address.
* Expert says this study isn’t indicative of lack of anonymity on the web, but identifying technical issues.

According to a study conducted by Stanford University Law School, 61 percent the top websites reviewed were passing on your user ID to third-parties without tell you — sometimes they didn’t even know they were doing it.

In an initial study released in July, the authors reviewed signup and interaction of 120 popular sites, finding 56 percent leaked some sort of private info.

A more recent study of website leaking practices was conducted as a follow-up including more websites and specific analysis of username or user ID leakage.

PC World has more:

Many websites ”leak usernames to third-party advertising networks by including usernames in URLs that the ad networks can see in referrer headers, said the study. [...] While there’s a debate in legal circles whether usernames are personal information, there’s a growing consensus among computer scientists that Web-based companies can use usernames to identify their owners, said Jonathan Mayer, a Stanford graduate student who led the study.

“The vast majority of usernames are unique,” he said. “Given the prevalence of social networking, often times, once you have a username for a social network, you then also have a person’s real name, possibly a photo, possibly more.”

Full Article Here

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