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Almost 100,000 websites, including 482 of the 50,000 most trafficked, use session replay scripts, many without clear disclosures, providing insight into user behavior but also exposing vital data to external servers.

“You may know that most websites have third-party analytics scripts that record which pages you visit and the searches you make,” Steven Englehardt, Gunes Acar, and Arvind Narayanan, explained in the first of Princeton’s “No Boundaries” series.  “But lately, more and more sites use ‘session replay’ scripts. These scripts record your keystrokes, mouse movements, and scrolling behavior, along with the entire contents of the pages you visit, and send them to third-party servers.” The researchers suggested unlike typical analytics services that deliver aggregate statistics, these scripts provide recording and playback of individual browsing sessions, as if someone is looking over the consumer’s shoulder.

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Roy Urrico

Roy W. Urrico specializes in articles about financial technology and services for Credit Union Times, as well as ghostwriting, copywriting, and case studies. Also: writer/editor of a semi-annual newsletter for Association for Financial Technology since 1997 and history projects funded by the U.S Interior Department, National Park Service and Warren County (N.Y.).

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