Measuring the Emergence of Consent Management on the Web

Maximilian Hils, Daniel W. Woods, Rainer Böhme

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

Privacy laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) have pushed internet firms processing personal data to obtain user consent. Uncertainty around sanctions for non-compliance led many websites to embed a Consent Management Provider (CMP), which collects users' consent and shares it with third-party vendors and other websites. Our paper maps the formation of this ecosystem using longitudinal measurements. Primary and secondary data sources are used to measure each actor within the ecosystem. Using 161 million browser crawls, we estimate that CMP adoption doubled from June 2018 to June 2019 and then doubled again until June 2020. Sampling 4.2 million unique domains, we observe that CMP adoption is most prevalent among moderately popular websites (Tranco top 50-10k) but a long tail exists. Using APIs from the ad-tech industry, we quantify the purposes and lawful bases used to justify processing personal data. A controlled experiment on a public website provides novel insights into how the time-to-complete of two leading CMPs' consent dialogues varies with the preferences expressed, showing how privacy aware users incur a significant time cost.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the ACM Internet Measurement Conference 2020 (IMC'20)
Place of PublicationNew York, NY, USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9781450381383
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2020
EventACM Internet Measurement Conference 2020 -
Duration: 27 Oct 202029 Oct 2020

Publication series

NameIMC '20
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery


ConferenceACM Internet Measurement Conference 2020
Internet address

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • CCPA
  • GDPR
  • privacy
  • consent
  • web measurement


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