Unraveling Web Traffic Origins

Deciphering the origins of content viewed by EU citizens to ensure GDPR compliance
Proxy Network
Digital Regulation
University
Research
Northeastern-Alex-Gamero-Garrido Bright Initiative

About

Dr. Alexander Gamero-Garrido, a Faculty Fellow at Northeastern University, embarked on an exploration into the complex web of internet traffic pathways. In a collaborative effort with The Bright Initiative, he co-authored a research paper that meticulously examines the flow of content reaching EU citizens online. The study’s core lies in understanding which organizations control internet traffic in different countries and how this can make certain countries vulnerable to surveillance or tampering with their internet data.

  • Identifying the origins of content viewed by EU citizens, ensuring GDPR compliance
  • Expanding the research’s scope, enabling the discovery of crucial business agreements that shape country connectivity
  • Emphasizing the importance of network transparency and its implications for privacy, security, and reliability on the internet

Challenge

Tracing the origins of content accessed by EU citizens in the vast expanse of the internet is a complicated task. The concealed nature of business agreements that govern network exchanges present a major obstacle. To understand these hidden dynamics, Dr. Gamero-Garrido utilized Bright Data’s Proxies. This granted him an unprecedented view into a broader range of networks, revealing the pivotal and publicly available business agreements that determine a country’s digital connectivity.

“The density of information that we can reveal through Bright Data’s platform, thanks to The Bright Initiative, is much bigger than the density of information that we can reveal from the alternatives. And so, it is really qualitatively and quantitatively a big jump in terms of how much visibility we gain for our research.”

Alexander Gamero-Garrido, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Northeastern University

Impact

The collaboration between Dr. Gamero-Garrido and The Bright Initiative has cast a spotlight on the complexities of network transparency and its impact on internet security, privacy, and reliability. The research found that 34 countries are highly vulnerable due to a single Autonomous System managing traffic to over 40% of their IP addresses. This study not only clarifies the pathways of internet traffic but also emphasizes the criticality of adhering to GDPR standards in the evolving digital landscape.

Learn more about Dr. Alexander Gamero-Garrido

Full Article: Quantifying Nations’ Exposure to Traffic – Observation and Selective Tampering