History of Social Network Use Reveals Your Identity
Web browsing history can be used to identify individuals in a membership group on a social networking site, according to researchers at the Vienna University of Technology. The researchers built a Web site to read the Web addresses visited by people who use Xing, a business-oriented social network based in Hamburg, Germany.
They collected data on 6,500 groups containing 1.8 million users, and analyzed the overlap between the lists of names of group members that were publicly available. The researchers estimate that 42 percent of Xing users could be uniquely identified by the membership groups they visited. Xing has begun to add random numbers to mask addresses, but the response might not be enough to foil a similar snooping site, says Stanford University computer scientist Arvind Narayanan.
The next round of Firefox, Chrome, and Safari browsers could have fixes to prevent browsing history from being relayed to Web site owners.
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