Privacy Dashboard now hosted as W3C open source project

The Privacy Dashboard is a Firefox add-on designed to help you understand what personal information is being collected by websites, and to provide you with a means to control this on a per website basis. It was developed with funding from the European Union’s 7th Framework Programme for the PrimeLife project, a pan-european research project focusing on bringing sustainable privacy and identity management to future networks and services. The Privacy Dashboard is now hosted as a W3C open source project and we are looking for volunteers with an interest in:

  • Tracking the privacy practices of websites over time and helping to present this information. This will include tracking changes to site privacy policies as the Dashboard can’t do so by itself.
  • Helping with its ongoing development as a developer or translator. We need help with ensuring that the Dashboard works as expected across different platforms and versions of Firefox, as well as with localization to different languages.
  • Helping to provide introductory information on privacy on the Web, explaining terms and providing a balanced account.

Data collected from the top 1000 websites in January 2011 is available for online query. Dashboard users can opt into sharing data. By pooling data from many users it will be possible to build up an even more detailed picture of how sites are tracking users. The uploaded data covers the properties of each site visited, e.g. whether it has third parties which set lasting cookies, but it doesn’t include anything that could be used to identify you. The Privacy Dashboard will help to shine a light on privacy practices on the Web, and encourage discussion on future directions for Web privacy.