Welcome to the visual part of The Cookie Network. On this website you can explore the network of your cookies. Cookies are small text files placed on your computer by companies in order to identify who you are. This can be very helpful when you want a website to remember your shopping cart for when you come back or automatically log you in on your next visit. However, this technology also allows for individual targeting. Unknown billion euro companies track our every move on the internet in order to create our profile. They can sell this or use it to influence us. Camebridge Analytica is a recent well known example. This website shows which companies have acces to your data and through wich webites.
Unforunately, the cookie network only functions in the Chrome webbrowser for now. Please follow this link to install the Chrome browser and see which companies are following you.
The cookie network is an attempt to open up the opaque and closed infrastructure that enables companies to track us, using the cookie technology. This project is not an attack at the technology itself nor the usage for advertising. However, during my research, companies have tried as much as they can to keep me out of this network. If we want to be able to change what is going, we first have to understand the current dynamics.
On May 25, 2018, the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) became effective. The daily overdose of cookie pop-ups appearing on our computer screens is a direct result of this regulation. However, we hardly realize what happens when we simply press the button 'I accept/consent/agree/understand'. Through the technology of cookies unknown entities get access to your browsing behaviour. In itself the data that are retrieved might not be so valuable but combined with the data of thousands or millions of other individuals, patterns will become manifest. Several incidents have shown, however, that the data are also used for other purposes. Democratic election processes have been influenced through the access to personal data. Additionally, it has also been shown that companies don’t take their security measures too seriously, resulting in data leaks and access to sensitive and detailed profiles to be used by anyone without or with malicious intent.
The cookie network is a project consisting of two elements; this website and a Chrome browser plugin. The plugin communicates to a central database. In this database all the cookies that are placed on your device are stored. Only you have access to these data using an unique cookie value. This website shows you the result of your browsing behaviour and let's you explore the cookie network which has been built up around you. The tab epxlore shows you a visual representation of the network. You can select websites and see through which channels who has access to your data and what other websites they use to gather more information.