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The Next HOPE (2010): "TrackMeNot: Injecting Reasonable Doubt in Everyone's Queries" (DVD)

The Next HOPE (2010): "TrackMeNot: Injecting Reasonable Doubt in Everyone's Queries" (DVD)

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Sunday, July 18, 2010: 1:00 pm (Bell): TrackMeNot is a lightweight Firefox extension that helps protects web searchers from surveillance and data-profiling by search engines. It does so, not by means of concealment or encryption (i.e., covering one's tracks), but instead, paradoxically, by the opposite strategy: noise and obfuscation. Because any query can plausibly be artificial, everyone's search history ownership is now subject to a reasonable doubt. The challenge that TrackMeNot encounters is to search as a human. The adversary, a search engine capable of mining billions of user queries, should not be able to filter the artificially generated queries. Ideally, even a human should not be capable of filtering the queries that have been injected.

This talk will also detail the motivations in developing TrackMeNot: lack of transparency of search engines' use of data and ambiguity of the privacy policies. Key elements of TrackMeNot implementation will be described and evidence will be revealed proving that a major search engine profiling algorithm is influenced by the use of TrackMeNot.

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