Trackography is an interactive map that shows you where your data is moving - and through which companies - when you read news articles online.
It works like this:
< Select a country >. This is where you are now. For the purposes of this explanation, let's randomly choose Kenya.
< Select a media website >. Let's choose local news site The Daily Nation.
The map will then show you, using thin differently-coloured lines, your data traffic: the routes your data takes from the computer in front of you, to the server hosting the news website.
You'll notice that your data takes some surprising paths. Why is there a line going to the US when you're visiting a local website? Why the UK? And why India?
WHAT IS TRACKOGRAPHY?
Reading the news online is like having Google, Facebook, Twitter, and others like them, all reading over your shoulder.
Known in this context as third-party trackers, these companies are collecting data about who you are, what you’re reading, and what you’re interested in - usually without you ever knowing about it.
Trackography is an open source project which lifts the veil on the global tracking industry by providing a snapshot of the third-party trackers in over 2,500 media websites across 38 countries.
When we access a specific media website, Trackography can show us exactly:
- which companies are tracking us
- the countries which host the servers of these tracking companies
- the countries which host the servers of the media website
- the countries which host the network infrastructure required to access the servers of media websites and tracking companies
- information on how some of the "globally prevailing tracking companies" handle our data, based on their privacy policies.
Trackography is a resource for researchers, advocates, lawyers, activists, and digital security trainers.
More information about the tool (including FAQs like "What do you mean by 'tracking'?) can be found on our Me & My Shadow website.
The Trackography tool itself can be found at https://trackography.org.