99% Of COVID-19 Data Websites Secretly Track Users.

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from National Pulse,

The vast majority of governmental and COVID-19 tracking websites employ third-party trackers on users without consent, according to a new study.

The revelation comes from a recent paper – “Measuring Web Cookies in Governmental Websites” – published by a cohort of European researchers funded by groups including the European Research Council (ERC), the European Union, and the Spanish government.

“A potential risk from e-governance is that since it represents a unique point of interaction for mandatory and indispensable services for all citizens, it can, unintentionally or not, become a single point of monitoring and tracking for the entire population of a country. A readily available way to achieve that is with the use of Web cookies,” cautions the paper.

The study analyzed three types of websites: official governmental websites of “G20” countries around the world; websites of international organizations such as the United Nations and popular websites used for COVID-19 tracking and information. It measured these sites’ use of “cookies” – personal data related to your browsing history that websites can retrieve at a later time.

“Web cookies have been exploited to collect information about users’ online activities and interests,” notes the paper.

“Our results show that, unfortunately, tracking is a serious concern, as in some countries up to 90% of these websites create cookies of third-party trackers without any consent from users,” explains a summary of the findings.

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