W3C | Submissions

Team Comment on the Shop Log File Submission

W3C is pleased to receive the Shop Log File Submission from Exody E-Business Intelligence GmbH and Intershop AG.

ShopSuxess describes a log format for online shopping servers. This format is based on W3C's Extended Log File Format and can hence be analyzed by conventional log file analysis tools.

The customer's actions (search queries, product description requests, products added to the customer's basket, payment) are recorded while the customer is browsing the catalog. All other requests are classified as GET actions. A site might want to have another log file in order to keep track of the actual HTTP requests (GET, POST, HEAD, etc) made to the server which fall under ShopSuxess's GET category.

Currently, tracking on the web is done with the help of cookies (RFC 2109 and RFC 2965). Technologies are available to block cookies in situations where users don't want to be tracked. The main Browsers in the market contain mechanisms to control whether cookies are accepted or not. An enhanced logfile-format carries the risk of circumvention of that current scenario and thus raises even more privacy concerns on log-files. There might also be concerns whether the intended tracking is allowed in certain legal frameworks.

The categories tracked in the logfile-format are present in the P3P Base-Data-Schema or can be introduced there by using the P3P-Extension Mechanism. Using P3P within the Shop-Software has the advantage that privacy-attributes can be connected with the collected data (e.g. the period of retention of that data). This would enhance the user's awareness and provide further hooks for the ability for the user to control his or her privacy while using an Online Shop.

W3C is not currently planning to work in this area, so no further action is planned.

Hugo Haas, W3C Architecture Domain <hugo@w3.org>