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Open Access The Third Party Diary: Tracking the trackers on Dutch governmental websites

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This article discusses how the browser plugin Ghostery contributes to a particular understanding of contemporary consumer surveillance by making Web tracking transparent. The Tracker Tracker is a digital methods tool that, by following Ghostery, detects trackers on specific sets of URLs. It was used to examine all the websites of the Government of the Netherlands on a regular basis. Ghostery also invokes a particular informational genre which has an effect on how we understand the issue of Web tracking. The use of such a tool therefore raises a question: what happens when we repurpose an ‘issue device’ as ‘research device’?
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Keywords: Web tracking; consumer surveillance; cookies; digital methods; traces

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Doctoral researcher in the Digital Methods Initiative (DMI) at the University of Amsterdam.

Publication date: March 1, 2014

More about this publication?
  • NECSUS is an international, double-blind peer reviewed journal of media studies connected to NECS (European Network for Cinema and Media Studies) and published by Amsterdam University Press. The journal is multidisciplinary and strives to bring together the best work in the field of media studies across the humanities and social sciences. We aim to publish research that matters and that improves the understanding of media and culture inside and outside the academic community. Each volume includes feature articles, a special thematic section, a video essay section, and a reviews section that covers books, festivals, and exhibitions. NECSUS is targeted to a broad readership of researchers, lecturers, and students, and will be offered as a biannual open access, online journal.

    The journal is published in Open Access, with the following Creative Commons copyright license: Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).

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