Recently, a study conducted by three researchers at Princeton University which has concluded that almost 500 of the most viewed Internet pages or websites record everything visitors do in them. These websites, among which are some as popular as microsoft.com, wordpress.com, adobe.com and much more.
These 500 Popular Websites Are Recording Your Every Keystroke & Mouse Movements
A study by three researchers at Princeton University has concluded that almost 500 of the most viewed Internet pages record everything visitors do in them. These websites, among which are some as popular as microsoft.com, wordpress.com, adobe.com, godaddy.com, spotify.com, reuters.com, or ryanair.com, records almost everything that a user does while navigating through them, such as moving to a certain section, what you type in a text box, the keystrokes and mouse movements. And all, of course, without the user knowing or receiving any notice that this happens.
Till to the date, it was known that most of the sites on the internet had analysis scripts that record which pages user visits and the searches he or she carries out. But – according to the authors of the study – lately, more and more sites use “repeat session” scripts.
These scripts record keystrokes, mouse movements and scrolling behaviour, along with all the content of the pages you visit. Unlike typical analysis services that provide global statistics, “these scripts are intended for the recording and playback of individual browsing sessions as if someone were looking over their shoulder,” the study says.
In principle, the declared purpose of this practice includes gathering information about how users interact with the sites and discover pages with design flaws, that do not work or that are confusing.
However, the scope of the data collected by these services often goes further. For example, the text written on the forms is collected before the user sends it. According to the researchers, “it is not reasonable to expect this information to remain anonymous. In fact, some of these scripts allow you to explicitly link the recordings to a user’s real identity.”
And as always, this type of programs also store data from credit cards, medical information and other personal information, which exposes users to identity theft or online fraud, among other threats, in the event that all this information ends in the hands of others.
Perhaps this is the reason why more and more people are providing false data – what is known as dirty data – when interacting with the websites of companies. This is what emerges from the latest studies conducted by Hocelot, a company dedicated to obtaining user data instantly.
According to this company, 60% of users lie or provide at least a false information when they request personal data on the Internet. This fact makes it calculate that, approximately, 25% of the user data held by the companies are false.
The reasons why users falsify data have several causes. First of all, to avoid being identified by the company and to escape the harassment of online campaigns. In the same way, users often partially falsify some data (age, geographical location, etc.) in order to be excluded or included in certain segments. For example, according to Hocelot, 23% of users say that they falsify their birth date occasionally. Finally, there are those who falsify data for illegal purposes. And then, of course, there are the involuntary errors and those that occur when typing wrong when entering them.
Click here to see the whole list of websites that were found to be recording user sessions.
So, what do you think about this? Simply share your views and thoughts in the comment section below.