Feeds

YouGov tests the waters on internet snooping

Mind if we spy on you?

The essential guide to IT transformation

Participants in a regular YouGov survey were recently confronted with an odd request to download software that would track users' surfing habits.

The July edition of the monthly Oracle (as in prediction) survey asked question about recipients' work and employer before concluding with an internet tracking punt that smelled of something close to spyware.

Would you be willing to participate in a study of people's internet usage. This involves downloading a piece of software onto your computer to track which websites you visit. It will not slow down your machine

YouGov said no software was actually offered and the request was for a international project that its US office was running on behalf of a (unnamed) client. Asked to explain further, the survey organisation said it was essentially testing the waters on whether or not survey panellists would be happy to have their surfing habits tracked.

YouGov is constantly looking for ways to improve the survey experience for its panellists and carries out regular screening on a whole range of activities. The questions on this occasion were simply part of  a standard screening exercise to measure feasibility for such a project - we do not currently have a commissioned study of this nature.  At any given time we conduct studies with the agreed participation of our panellists that provide us information that allow us to improve our services.

Installing unverified software on corporate PCs, even from trusted sources - especially in cases (like this one) where the purpose of the technology is unclear - is risky.

The UK-based Reg reader and survey participant, who tipped us off about the odd offer, said that perhaps YouGov was trying to gauge people's online security sense. "If this is the case, then well done YouGov, and I look forward to some report on how gullible people are," he said.

If YouGov was seriously considering projects involving the tracking of users' surfing habits then the privacy and data protection objections would be huge, especially in Europe.

YouGov is a well established internet-based market research firm that started off in the UK around 10 years ago and has since expanded to the US, Germany and the Middle East. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
KER-CHING! CryptoWall ransomware scam rakes in $1 MEEELLION
Anatomy of the net's most destructive ransomware threat
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.