Surveillance Countermeasures

Expressive Privacy via Obfuscation


  • Daniel C. Howe



The browser remains a key focal point for much of the surreptitious data gathering and surveillance that pervade the web. There are a multitude of vectors by which corrupt advertisers, repressive governments, and other malicious players can attack the browser to identify its user and access valuable personal data without consent. One avenue that has shown promise in frustrating data collection in the browser, however, has been obfuscation. Obfuscation, has in part proven successful as a strategy due to the ubiquity of the browser itself. While a web service provider may be able to filter out unwanted requests from individuals, it is far more difficult when tens of thousands of different users are attempting to pollute their captured data in this way. As such, obfuscation may represent a useful avenue of resistance against contemporary datafication in online space.