Nearly all websites have web tracking. Each time you see a cookie appear or if you get the “informed consent” form popping up, you can be sure that your online behavior can and will be used.
Most often for advertisement and improved servicing. For example: based on your browsing behavior, a recommender engine might give you interesting suggestions what to buy or read next. The thing is:you don’t know exactly what happens with this digital trace you leave behind.
Together with Jente De Ridder and Steven Thijs from stitchd we brainstormed on how to solve the issue. Our solution was to save the web tracking data in your Solid pod.
We focused our use case on news websites, to show other gains can be made using Solid.
- If you leave a news website from one brand to one of another brand, they can’t recommend you articles based on your behavior on the previous site(s).
- All media companies try and data-hoard and need to putin time and effort to create this tracking and reader profile separately. They all have to make and build their own data silo (and have a DPO to keep it all compliant to EU laws and regulations).
The Proof of concept:
Hosted on: https://solid-demo.netlify.app/
We developed a website where news articles are suggested based on your web tracking data. Currently, this data is generated while browsing the website.
The first thing you will see when visiting the website is a popup where you can authenticate with your Solid Pod. At this moment, we support the use of pods hosted on https://solidcommunity.net and https://inrupt.net. On the"personalized news" page you can see news articles based on your web tracking data from your Pod.
For the web tracking part, we're using the GDDL framework (event driven web tracking).
A full developer guide is available in the blogpost of stitchd (https://stitchd.gitbook.io/solid-web-tracking/)
The implementation of web tracking with solid comes with a lot of advantages:
- Your are in control over you data. You are in control over the data,and thus you can choose who you share the data with.
- There is always a single source of truth: when you change your address in your pod, every website/app that has access to it can see the change. There is no need to go around changing your address on every single service.
- Increase in user experience: there will be more data available. You could give service B access to the data that service A has created. This way,every service has access to the same data set. Services will have to improve on the user experience to make sure clients use their product.
- Mind that you can combine your reading behavior with your watching behavior,and maybe with a lot of other data you have on your pod (maybe have a shopping list based on the recipe’s you’ve been reading? Some content might point to a local club or group that shares your interest…)
- GDPR: storing the web tracking data in the users pod means that you automatically comply with GDPR laws. A user can always see what data is available for the service, and the user can also revoke access for thatservice.
The Future of web tracking:
We believe this proof-of-concept is very powerful. It shows that a user can have better user experience (more data available), whilst also having full control over their data.