Netidee Blog Bild
User tracking tools
A completely new chapter (02.04.2021)
Förderjahr 2020 / Stipendien Call #15 / ProjektID: 5035 / Projekt: Legal issues of user tracking technologies used by Austrian enterprises

Being a computer scientist and having attended a few lectures on project management (agile or not), I knew I had to plan my Master thesis with a little wiggle room timewise. And still, I found myself asking for a little more time a few weeks ago. Not because my maths was off, but because in order to create a meaningful survey I needed to write a completely new chapter. One that was not on my initial list of things to do. It's about (commercially available) user tracking tools.

As mentioned in a previous blog post, I focused my first chapter on user tracking methods. So not tools, but the methods behind them. I really dug deep and uncovered so many methods unknown to me, that I got more and more worried. If I did not know about them, how could I assume that the people I would survey in my next step will know about them. I considered creating a survey for experts only (like data protection officers), but at some point I had to admit that even them might not be able to answer my questions sufficiently. So I decided, the only way I can create an "answerable" survey is by taking the time to look up (commercially available) user tracking tools and, in a next step, match them to the methods I already described in my first chapter. This was much harder than initially thought and I was only able do it to the best of my resources. So many of those tools try really hard to hide any information on their inner workings. 

However, now I am able to ask questions like "Do you use any of the following tools?" followed by a list of user tracking tools, instead of asking "Does your company use browser fingerprinting to track users?". I will still give the respondents an option to provide information on additional tools, which I might have missed. But overall, the questions will be much more precise, faster to answer and will not require a degree in computer science or an advanced interest in user tracking. Hopefully, this will have a positive impact on the number of respondents.

It feels a bit repetitive to end this blog post stating the same question I already ended my last blog post with. Nevertheless, it is still the question I will try to answer next, I just had to finish a little side-quest first. Now that I am "back on track", my next chapter will focus on the following question: Which (state-of-the-art) user tracking technologies are currently used by Austrian enterprises for business purposes?

My next blog post will finally include stats and graphics, because I know how terrible boring text-only blog posts can be.

Tanja Travnicek

Female avatar
I am a Master student of Business Informatics at TU Wien, where I also finished my Bachelor in "Medieninformatik und Visual Computing". Throughout my studies, I specialised in certain areas of organisation, law and security.
Additionally, I am employed as IT consultant and responsible for one of Austria's major learning managment systems.
Diese Frage dient der Überprüfung, ob Sie ein menschlicher Besucher sind und um automatisierten SPAM zu verhindern.