June 13, 2024

Deconstructing Google’s excuses on tracking protection

By Jonathan Mayer and Arvind Narayanan. Blocking cookies is bad for privacy. That’s the new disingenuous argument from Google, trying to justify why Chrome is so far behind Safari and Firefox in offering privacy protections. As researchers who have spent over a decade studying web tracking and online advertising, we want to set the record […]

Why PhD experiences are so variable and what you can do about it

People who do PhDs seem to have either strongly positive or strongly negative experiences — for some, it’s the best time of their lives, while others regret the decision to do a PhD. Few career choices involve such a colossal time commitment, so it’s worth thinking carefully about whether a PhD is right for you, […]

Against privacy defeatism: why browsers can still stop fingerprinting

In this post I’ll discuss how a landmark piece of privacy research was widely misinterpreted, how this misinterpretation deterred the development of privacy technologies rather than spurring it, how a recent paper set the record straight, and what we can learn from all this. The research in question is about browser fingerprinting. Because of differences […]

How to constructively review a research paper

Any piece of research can be evaluated on three axes: Correctness/validity — are the claims justified by evidence? Impact/significance — how will the findings affect the research field (and the world)? Novelty/originality — how big a leap are the ideas, especially the methods, compared to what was already known? There are additional considerations such as […]

When the business model *is* the privacy violation

Sometimes, when we worry about data privacy, we’re worried that data might fall into the wrong hands or be misused for unintended purposes. If I’m considering participating in a medical study, I’d want to know if insurance companies will obtain the data and use it against me. In these scenarios, we should look for ways […]