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High-Frequency Trading For Your Private Data 75

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-a-matter-of-time dept.
New submitter fierman writes "In a work to be presented at the Network and Distributed System Security Symposium (ISOC NDSS'14), INRIA researchers show the privacy risks of Real-Time Bidding (PDF) and High-Frequency Trading for selling advertisement spaces. Combining Real-Time Bidding and Cookie Matching, advertisers can significantly improve their tracking and profiling capabilities. Both technologies are already prevalent on the Web. The research discusses the value of users' private data (browsing history) retrieved directly from the advertisers, leveraging an exposed information leak in RTB systems. Advertisers will pay about $0.0005 to display a targeted ad to a single user, while at the same time acquiring information about them. The research also shows evidence of price variation with users' profiles, physical location, time of day and content of visited sites."
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High-Frequency Trading For Your Private Data

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  • That's fantastic, 'cause I'll definitely pay $0.0006 to not see an ad. Someone show me how to buy up all my personal pageviews.

    • by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @06:15PM (#45655901)

      No doubt!

      I'd like bid 5$ to buy the next 1,000,000 page views served to me. That ought to buy me an ad free internet for quite a while.

      If that's the market rate to throw shitty ads in my face, I'm more than willing to pay the going rate to replace them with 1x1 clear gifs for my page views. (I'll also supply hosting and bandwidth cost to serving them to me.)

      • Does $5 buy 10,000 or a million page views at that 5/100ths of a cent each?
        • by vux984 (928602)

          Does $5 buy 10,000 or a million page views at that 5/100ths of a cent each?

          Sigh; yeah. I read $0.0005; as 0.00005 cents, not 0.005 cents.

          Still $5 even for 10,000 views... I wonder how many months that would last me.

          • by Tom (822)

            Days.

            If I read correctly, this is per ad, not per page. So on your average online magazine, that's 5-10 per page. So that's 1000 page views. Your average article is split up over 2-3 pages these days, in order to generate more ad impressions. It also includes every article you click on, load the page, realize it's not interesting to you and leave again with a second or two.

            Not sure how much you read, but for me, that would last me maybe a week, and if it includes sites I frequent a lot, less.

            • by jfengel (409917)

              Five bucks a week, for All of the Internet... still a price a lot of people would pay to be truly free of ads and the tracking that goes with it. (At least, until they started finding ways to scam it; I'd be reluctant to let sites have direct access my money, even if only a limited pool of it. And of course it's a whole new way to track you, since there's some kind of line from the web site to the account to the way you fill that account.)

              • by Tom (822)

                And it's still protection money. "Nice browsing experience you have there... would be a shame if anything happened to it."

                And I bet that it wouldn't be long before someone eats the "acceptable advertisement" bait, like the idiots at Mozilla or the scammers at ABP did.

      • by gmhowell (26755)

        I'd like bid 5$ to buy the next 1,000,000 page views served to me. That ought to buy me an ad free internet for quite a while.

        You clearly don't view as much porn as I do.

    • Count how many ads you 'see' (i.e. load a page with the ads on) in a month. Then reconsider.

    • The economics don't work in reverse. Paying $0.0006 to NOT see an ad generates very little revenue and takes a lot of people to do it. The people paying $0.0005 to put an ad in your face are buying lots of millions at a time and are expecting to make much more then that in aggregate by you buying their stuff. So from the advertising company they would push back against this. And even if they didn't the web host wont reverse the economics. From the web page hosting company if they wanted equal revenue, t
  • So many people that I know have enough money to pay their bills, and very little left over, and they tend to save that money for things like car/house problems. Also, so many people are switching from cable to Netflix for their entertainment (no advertising there that I've ever seen). I really wonder if advertising is still as effective as once thought. I know I mentally block it all out if it's on a site (slashdot gives you a choice if you're logged in, and I love that). I have never ever ever ever see
    • Re:Wowee (Score:5, Insightful)

      by neminem (561346) <neminem.gmail@com> on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @06:40PM (#45656101) Homepage

      I occasionally see advertisements in real life, like on billboards and stuff, for tv shows or movies that look interesting, and as a result go home and google them. Then if the reviews are good, I might end up watching them (of course in the tv case, nobody is getting any money as a result of that decision anyway, but that's not my problem.)

      Every once in a blue moon I might click on an ad for a web comic on a site where I specifically un-adblocked their ads because I want them to get money and they don't put awful spammy in-your-face ads up. But that's quite rare.

      I certainly never go out and buy soda or clothes or cars or whatever the crap gets advertised by traditional advertising, though. But then, I never buy most of that crap regardless, either.

      I do agree with you completely, though - kids are the obvious demographic to advertise to. They're the most likely to DESPERATELY NEED random crap they totally don't actually need, plus it's not *their* money that would be spent. MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY BUY ME THIS THING I SAW ON TV IT LOOKS AWESOME was certainly heard enough by my parents between the age of 5 and 12.

      • by mayko (1630637)
        Honestly I think this is the case with most users. Especially those who would be considered power-users. Ad blindness on the internet isn't something that publishers and ad agencies are unaware of. The idea is "the right ad, for the right person, at the right time." I would extend that to "through the right medium." In a perfect world the adverts you see wouldn't be intrusive and would be something that you could even consider valuable. Truly good products and services need to generate awareness after all.

        I certainly never go out and buy soda or clothes or cars or whatever the crap gets advertised by traditional advertising, though. But then, I never buy most of that crap regardless, either.

        • Re:Wowee (Score:5, Informative)

          by neminem (561346) <neminem.gmail@com> on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @07:24PM (#45656373) Homepage

          Oh yeah, totally. IF, and this is a big if:
          * advertising were always clearly labeled as advertising
          * advertising were off to the side rather than being interstitial or overlapping with content
          * advertising didn't play music, jump around wildly, flash, grab your focus, attempt to create new windows, or do anything else distracting you from what you were trying to do
          * advertising didn't try to download megs of data and refuse to fully render the page until it was done
          * advertising never showed images that were NSFW (either because they were disgusting pictures of morbidly obese people, or because they were giant pictures of half-exposed breasts, and I have seen both of those exact ads on sites that had no business displaying either of those things)
          * advertising actually announced what it was advertising, and in a way not clearly anticipating that I have the brain of a 4 year old
          * advertising was actually relevant to my interests

          IF all of those things were true, then I would totally be willing to turn internet ads back on, and might actually even click on them occasionally.

          Unlikely, though.

      • Ads aren't there for you to click on, they're there to "raise awareness" of their product. If and when you ever decide that yo're interested in that "kind" of thing they sell, their name is already in your mind. I never drink Mountain Dew. But I know about it and if I ever was motivated to start drinking soda (why??!!!) , it's one of the one's I'd have a mind to try. That's advertising.

        Another alternative is word of mouth which works for some things some times. Another alternative is *no one knows your prod

    • by dj245 (732906)

      So many people that I know have enough money to pay their bills, and very little left over, and they tend to save that money for things like car/house problems. Also, so many people are switching from cable to Netflix for their entertainment (no advertising there that I've ever seen). I really wonder if advertising is still as effective as once thought. I know I mentally block it all out if it's on a site (slashdot gives you a choice if you're logged in, and I love that). I have never ever ever ever seen an advertisement and thought, "Holy shit, that's something that I should get." I mean, I did when I was a kid, but not since.

      The key is to send your advertisement to the right person at their moment of greatest receptiveness. Suppose I walk out of a bar at 1AM. My phone knows where I am and what the local time is. Hours of operation data on most businesses is available online. I get a message "I see you have just closed Bob's Bar! Jane's Bar is open until 3AM and we are 2 blocks away! Click this button to put your phone into navigation mode".

      Another example is a hot saturday morning. My phone knows location, weather dat

  • by tomhath (637240) on Tuesday December 10, 2013 @06:52PM (#45656179)
    Other than both happen very quickly in human terms, this has nothing to do with High Frequency Trading. But I suppose that's a buzz word that gets peoples hackles up so they toss it around a few times. This is just selling advertising space to the highest bidder. The privacy issue is with the companies that collect the data, how they collect it, and who they share it with. Whether they sell that information in real time or the next day isn't particularly relevant.
  • It's come to the point where I honestly believe we need to outlaw all advertisement. Yes, I mean that. Make it illegal, absolutely all of it. Posters, mailings, newsletters, TV and radio, web, banners - the whole lot.

    Make all of it illegal and then apply the same principle to it that we know works whenever something is dangerous and easily abused: Whitelisting. After pulling the plug, have a serious conversation about where, what kind and how much advertisement we as a society are willing to accept, and the

    • The market is what regulates privacy. When companies overstep, there will be consequences, but so far the market has said consumers are more than willing to trade data for amazing free tools online.

    • I'm mostly with you. Honestly advertizing should have it's own channel or something, so that if people wanted it, then BAM there it is. If that were to happen, we must remember that things like most tv entertainment will no longer exist in the same 'state of things' as today - that includes foobaw (oh nos!)

      Personally I'm fine with that, but so many people will be faced with the actuality of the void in their lives, and be forced to find another way to piss their lives away. Personally I'm fine with tha
    • More complicated then it sounds.

      My inlaw had a nice business of real estate going before the do not call thing hit. No she does not spam people. Rather she can be sued for calling customer back or picking up the phone and calling someone who has a phone number on a for sale sign.

      Hey that is cold calling sale NOPE can't have any of that can we even if the person is wanting to sell?!

      Where do you draw the line?

      If you owned a business and wanted to partner with another company where both you and the other comp

      • by fatphil (181876)
        > do not want to see erection disorder drugs when the kids watch Nickelodeon

        "Is daddy grumpy all the time?"
        "Buy him the new purple power pill for christmas!"

        "Is mummy grumpy all the time?"
        "Buy daddy the new purple power pill for christmas!"
      • by Tom (822)

        You missed the point that I made after saying "make it all illegal".

        I understand there is legitimate and even wanted advertisement, especially in the B2B segment. Or, for example, trailers for upcoming movies.

        The point is to make everything illegal and then define exceptions, instead of the way we're currently running things that very obviously isn't working: To allow everything and define exceptions that we don't want.

  • Right now much of this is based on the rather unsubstantiated idea that such targeted advertising and tracking actually results in an increase of sales. There is a lot of faith and bluster involved, it could easily turn into a house of cards if it turns out all these fancy tricks do not actually do anything for the clients.
  • Anyone red the papet and can explain where the leak is? All the interesting stuff is supposed to occur outside of browser reach, so how did they did it?
    • by privtz (3459399)
      Please see: https://team.inria.fr/privatics/yourvalue/ [inria.fr] And the linked description. Long story short: RTBs encrypt the value of prices... But in some cases this does not happen and even those careful enough find themselves be leaking this infos while using OTHER non-encrypting systems. So the leak is due to the fact that some of them encrypt, others do not, but the detection phase requires looking up the encrypted ones.
  • I want to see my profile. I want to know who they think I am (my real identity) and how they characterize me and what information they have. How can I do this? If it's for sale, can I buy it?

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