Adnostic: Privacy Preserving Targeted Advertising

Proceedings Network and Distributed System Symposium, March 2010

23 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2015

See all articles by Vincent Toubiana

Vincent Toubiana

Commission Nationale de L'informatique et des Libertés (CNIL)

Arvind Narayanan

Princeton University

Dan Boneh

Stanford University

Helen Nissenbaum

Cornell Tech; New York University

Solon Barocas

Cornell University

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

Online behavioral advertising (OBA) refers to the practice of tracking users across web sites in order to infer user interests and preferences. These interests and preferences are then used for selecting ads to present to the user. There is great concern that behavioral advertising in its present form infringes on user privacy. The resulting public debate — which includes consumer advocacy organizations, professional associations, and government agencies — is premised on the notion that OBA and privacy are inherently in conflict.

In this paper we propose a practical architecture that enables targeting without compromising user privacy. Behavioral profiling and targeting in our system takes place in the user’s browser. We discuss the effectiveness of the system as well as potential social engineering and web-based attacks on the architecture. One complication is billing; ad-networks must bill the correct advertiser without knowing which ad was displayed to the user. We propose an efficient cryptographic billing system that directly solves the problem. We implemented the core targeting system as a Firefox extension and report on its effectiveness.

Keywords: privacy, software, advertising, tracking, online behavioral advertising, big data

Suggested Citation

Toubiana, Vincent and Narayanan, Arvind and Boneh, Dan and Nissenbaum, Helen F. and Barocas, Solon, Adnostic: Privacy Preserving Targeted Advertising (2010). Proceedings Network and Distributed System Symposium, March 2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2567076

Vincent Toubiana

Commission Nationale de L'informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) ( email )

Arvind Narayanan

Princeton University ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08540
United States

Dan Boneh

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Helen F. Nissenbaum (Contact Author)

Cornell Tech ( email )

111 8th Avenue #302
New York, NY 10011
United States

New York University ( email )

New York, NY 10003
United States
212-998-5251 (Phone)

Solon Barocas

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

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