On the Privacy Concerns of URL Query Strings

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Provided by: United States Naval Academy
Topic: Security
Format: PDF
URLs often utilize query strings (i.e., key-value pairs appended to the URL path) as a means to pass session parameters and form data. Often times these arguments are not privacy sensitive but are necessary to render the web page. However, query strings may also contain tracking mechanisms, user names, email addresses, and other information that users may not wish to reveal. In isolation such URLs are not particularly problematic, but the growth of Web 2.0 platforms such as social networks and micro-blogging means URLs (often copy-pasted from web browsers) are increasingly being publicly broadcast.
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