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Robbert van Eijk on NOS news site about the online advertising market

More and more companies are watching while you surf the internet. Robbert van Eijk, dual PhD student on the program of Leiden University Dual PhD Centre, wrote his dissertation on this subject. On 29 January, 2019, Van Eijk obtained his doctorate for his research on online privacy.

Research shows that the online advertising market is even more opaque and complicated than expected. Many people know that advertisements are adapted to your browsing behaviour and interests, but how this exactly happens is a mystery to most people.

Real-time Bidding

Websites use the technique 'real-time bidding', which determines at what price an advertising space can be sold. Therefore, companies need to know what the interests of the consumers are. This is determined on the basis of your location and the pages you visit. Research by Van Eijk shows that in practice thousands of companies are engaged in real-time bidding: 'A few years ago we were talking about dozens of companies that are watching, now there are hundreds of them.'

Privacy Impact

Van Eijk has found a way to measure the privacy impact of this advertising market. With his research he discovered that there are a lot of specialized companies that operate in a small part of the advertising market. 'Sometimes information is exchanged at the back, without being visible in your browser', says van Eijk.

Read the full article here (Dutch).

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