Security

Privacy-Preserving History Mining for Web Browsers

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Executive Summary

The authors introduce a new technique that permits servers to harvest selected Internet browsing history from visiting clients. Privacy-Preserving History Mining (PPHM) requires no installation of special-purpose client-side executables. Paradoxically, it exploits a feature in most browsers (IE, Firefox and Safari) regarded for years as a privacy vulnerability. PPHM enables privacy-preserving data-mining through the addition of a client-side filter that supports OR and AND queries over the URLs cached in a client. The authors describe a lightweight prototype PPHM system designed for targeted advertising. The authors also discuss audit and policy enhancements that help the PPHM system comply with regulatory guidelines like the OECD Fair Information Practice Principles.

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