Click-Tracking Blocker: Privacy Preservation By Disabling Search Engines' Click-Tracking


search engine click tracking; sponsored links; user privacy


On a search engine result page, if a user clicks on any one of those contained URL links, whether it is a search result website (called organic link), or a search related advertisement link (called sponsored link), the user's click action will be tracked by returning back to the search engine first and then redirecting to the corresponding target website. This click-tracking is conducted by all three major search engines: Google, Bing, and Yahoo (although Bing does not track clicks on organic links). Many people are not aware that their clicks are tracked by search companies; and this click-tracking imposes a big privacy threat for privacy-concerned users. After discovering that all organic and sponsored links in a search engine result page actually encode the real URLs of target websites with simple encoding techniques, we have developed a browser plug-in program called Click-Tracking Blocker that modifies all URLs on search result pages once they are retrieved by users' computers, such that search engines will no longer be able to track users' clicking behaviors on both organic links and sponsored links. Click-Tracking Blocker can be readily and easily installed by end users to protect their privacy, works for all three major search engines, and does not affect users' search experience.

Publication Date


Publication Title

2014 IEEE Global Communications Conference, GLOBECOM 2014

Number of Pages


Document Type

Article; Proceedings Paper

Personal Identifier


DOI Link


Socpus ID

84949922026 (Scopus)

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