“KnowPrivacy” is a collaborative research project by Class of 2009 graduates of the Masters program at the University of California Berkeley School of Information. FPF advisory board member Chris Hoofnagle helped advise the students. In the project, the students examined the common practices among website operators of collecting, sharing and analyzing data about their users, and attempted to identify practices “which may be deceptive or potentially harmful to users’ privacy”. Overall the report does a great job at demonstrating how chaotic and confusing the online ecosystem can be for users.
Although the reports count of the number of “web bugs” detected grabbed the press headlines, the most interesting sections may be the analysis done of privacy complaints filed with the FTC, TRUSTe, the State of California Privacy Office and Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. The project web site and a copy of the report is available here: http://knowprivacy.org/