Exposing Online Tracking of American Muslims

This project takes the cue from the recent Muslim ban made by newly elected president Donald Trump. We asked ourselves, how can web tracking technologies be used for religious profiling? How can we raise awareness and reduce the social impact posed by the BigDataBusiness™ in this context?

We’ve isolated four kind of digital content that might be used to profile you as a Muslim.

Both as a candidate and now as President, Donald Trump has made clear his intent to pursue aggressive policies targeting Muslims, refugees and immigrants under the banner of national security.

"Muslim registries", Big Data and Human Rights
– Amnesty International report

By looking at the trackers present on some of the most used websites by the Muslim community, one could argue that the information gathered by those trackers could be used by the U.S. government to enforce the ban. These websites then become a sort of registry providers.

But perhaps a “Muslim registry” — or list of deportation targets, for that matter — would not necessarily have to involve registration at all. The past 10 years have witnessed a boom in big data.

These websites are ultimately responsible for the trackers served to their readers. Often they are not aware of which trackers they are including.

React!

for Web Users

Install the adblocker for your platform:

ChromeFirefoxAndroid

You might disable it, but often it is necessary to stay safe online

Understand the risk few videos from Internet Society

Because despite the promises, this ecosystem is designed to identify you and don't let you escape.

for Web Admin

use HTTPS, it is free, and all the third parties you include have to use the encrypted channel.

Abuses of unencrypted web trackers happen, either in passive and offensive ways by governments, do not make any sense permit it if there is the option: show to your user you care!

Reduce the usage, as much as possible

Our project is intended to map and keep track of the websites displaying least concerned. If your website is analyzed here, your business is not based on advertising.

Avoid the most invasive web trackers.

Cookies are the technology intended to do web tracking. If more invasive privacy-harming techniques are uses, start from the responsible website to uninstall such trackers. This project next stages will go deeper in rank their invasiveness.

for the Companies

Be Transparent

Do complete transparency report, fight against the gag order, do internal awareness on data usage, disclose your minimization policy or we assume you have not. Disclosure of the meta-data collected and the third parties you sell the data. The tracking business is surveillance.

Allow pseudonymous access

Give your users the freedom to access your service pseudonymously. Real-name policies and their ilk are especially harmful to vulnerable populations, including pro-democracy activists and the LGBT community. For bonus points, don't restrict access to logged-in users.

Stop behavioral analysis

Do not attempt to use your data to make decisions about user preferences and characteristics—like political preference or sexual orientation—that users did not explicitly specify themselves. Let users modify data that's been collected about them so far, and giving them the option not to have your service collect this information about them at all.

See more

The analysis in depth

More details

If you want to share this message, please consider also this concise article on algorithm surveillance and religious freedom.

Every time you connect to a website, are in fact connecting to many websites. These services are named third parties, and both academia and policy regulator has extensively researched on it.

trackers very likely end up to represent a privacy problem, and based on the social and digital context, a security risk.

Solutions have been pointed out, a lot of debate is ongoing because this is the technical requirement of the online advertising, the primary business model on the Internet.

Third parties have many reasons to exist. Some of them make your navigation better, and few of them don't even track users. Not all third parties are wrong, most of the time, they feed a complex market of personal profiles.

On the left, the grey market. Companies who buys enrich, analyze and resell personal or group profiles. On the right, the companies that might be present in your navigation
This is a releaboration of the original research from LUMA partners.

Tracking is not just made by Cookies

It is known that cookies are one of the techniques used to track a user but is not the only one.This website shows how much your browser left fingerprints to third party scripts. Test your browser!

About

This initiative was founded by Claudio Agosti. Thanks to the support of Rahma Sghaier (Content), Tullia Mancuso (the first feedback!), Mahsa Alimardani (Research), Michele Invernizzi (Editing), Dragana Kaurin (Research): without their precious help, this project would not have come to life.

And next?

Please feel free to get in touch on github, and join a volunteer community of active users against Muslim tracking. We need your support for the following the workflow:

You can follow us via github: the trackers-analysis platform, the invi.sible.link, or the American Muslims campaign page

Contribute in the website collection

The list of website analyzed above is supposed to reflect the content seen by an American Muslim. This task is a collaborative effort, propose your changes to the site list: Culture and generic Islamic websites, Halal food shops, Mosques and Travel agencies for Hajj and 'Umra