The Eleventh HOPE (2016): "Bring the Noise: Ten Years of Obfuscation as Counter-Surveillance" (Download)
Saturday, July 23, 2016: 4:00 pm (Friedman): It has been a decade now since the release of TrackMeNot, the first privacy tool to leverage obfuscation for counter-surveillance. In the interim, obfuscation has been actively developed, with new tools exploring its use for email (ScareMail), location-tracking (CacheCloak), advertising (AdNauseam), DNA analysis (Invisible), and beyond. This talk reviews the development of the strategy and considers some of the questions it raises for the tool-making community. Daniel will debut AdNauseam 2.0, the first cross-platform production release of AdNauseam, which aims at nothing less than ending advertising-based surveillance as we know it. Obfuscation can be defined as the strategy of using noise to hide one’s true interests and/or confuse an adversary. As obfuscation is relatively flexible in its use, it holds unique promise as a strategy for DIY privacy and security. TrackMeNot was the first privacy tool to leverage obfuscation online, protecting web searchers from search engine profiling by hiding their queries in a cloud of generated noise. AdNauseam directs similar techniques at the advertising networks that track users across the web, polluting user profiles and subverting the economic system that drives this pervasive form of surveillance.
Daniel C. Howe