About the Web Mirror

The Web Mirror is a public engagement project from the University of Southampton. We help members of the public to understand how companies track their web browsing, what that information can be used for, and how to opt out of it.

As part of the Meaningful Consent in the Digital Economy project our goals are to understand, re-imagine and re-engineer personal data, privacy and consent.

How does it work?

  1. We collect a sample of your web browsing history (either from a laptop or desktop browser, of from an Android smartphone).
  2. We upload that sample to one of our "shadow browsers" - These browsers visit every web page you've visited, collecting detailed information about the different organisations that are observing each page.
  3. The results of the shadow browsing are used to create surveillance profiles, our best guess about which pages each organisation has seen you visit.
  4. We calculate statistics, generate a network map and perform content analysis to help you understand what this surveillance means to you.
  5. Together, this information makes up your Web Reflection, the picture of you that advertisers and other surveillance companies have built up from watching you browse the web.