[liberationtech] Columbia XRay web transparency project

Gregory Foster gfoster at entersection.org
Sat Aug 23 13:00:55 PDT 2014

On 8/23/14, 2:01 PM, Gregory Foster wrote:
> https://github.com/matlecu/xray
>> XRay is a research project from Columbia University that aims to
>> improve transparency of data usage on the web. You can learn more
>> on our website.
> http://xray.cs.columbia.edu/
>> ...we developed XRay, a new tool that reveals which data in a web
>> account, such as emails, searches, or viewed products, are being
>> used to target which outputs, such as ads, recommended products,
>> or prices. It can increase end-user awareness about what the
>> services they use do with their data, and it can enable auditors
>> and watchdogs with the necessary tools to keep the Web in check.
>> Currently, XRay can reveal some forms of targeting for Gmail ads,
>> Amazon product recommendations, and YouTube video
>> recommendations. However, XRay's core mechanisms are largely
>> service-agnostic, providing the necessary building blocks that we
>> hope will enable a new generation of auditing tools that will
>> help lift the curtain on how users' personal data is being used.
>> Using our XRay Gmail prototype, we found some pretty interesting
>> examples of data uses, such as a number of ads targeting
>> depression, cancer, and other illnesses. We also saw quite a few
>> subprime loan ads for used cars that targeted debt, loan, or
>> borrow keywords in users' inboxes.
> YouTube (Aug 20) - "XRay: web transparency tool": 
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxH20ey2d7k
> HT @kdnuggets: 
> https://twitter.com/kdnuggets/status/503198576798089216

"XRay: Enhancing the Web’s Transparency with Differential Correlation"
Presented at the 23rd Usenix Security Symposium (Aug 20-22)
by @matlecu, et. al.

NYT Bits Blog (Aug 18) - "XRay: A New Tool for Tracking the Use of
Personal Data on the Web" by @SteveLohr:


Gregory Foster || gfoster at entersection.org
@gregoryfoster <> http://entersection.com/

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