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WSJ Data Transparency Code-a-Thon


PrivacyBucket is a Chrome extension that measures the extent to which individual third-party trackers can discover demographic information about the user. For example, visiting a lot of sports sites might suggest that the user is male; visiting aarp.org may suggest that the user is in an older age range. Visiting bmw.com and lexus.com may suggest that the user is in a high income bracket, etc. The goal of Privacy Bucket is to show to the user what can be discovered about them from their browsing history.

The key issue in third-party tracking is that the tracking company--typically, an ad network--gets access to a portion of the user's web history. Given a set of visited sites, it is possible to determine the probability of a hidden variable, for example a user's age, being a certain value. For each third-party tracker that is encountered by the user, Privacy Bucket will combine a profile of observations made by the tracker about the user with background information about the browsing habits of a large population, in order to characterize the amount of information the tracker has about that user's hidden variables. The results of this computation will be visualized in terms of a "leaky bucket"---a full bucket corresponding to a private state, or a full privacy budget.

Your team: Matt, Wendy, Alan, Vlad, Nick, Ben

What are you building: Chrome extension PrivacyBucket, see above

Who is it for: end users

Your goal for this weekend: working extension and a demo

Your starting point: from scratch

Download: https://github.com/downloads/mfredrik/Privacy-Bucket/privacy-bucket-1.5.crx

Screenshots:
https://github.com/mfredrik/Privacy-Bucket/wiki



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