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August 22, 2023

MTS RED Analytics: the Activity Collecting Information about the Website Visitor Activity Doubled since 2021

According to analysts, the number of web tracker activations on the websites visited by MTS subscribers in the first six months of 2023 increased by 17.5% compared to the same period of 2022.

Moscow, Russian Federation — the Future Crew Innovation Center of MTS RED, a subsidiary of MTS for cybersecurity, reporting the results of a study on web trackers. According to analysts, the number of web tracker activations on the websites visited by MTS subscribers in the first six months of 2023 increased by 17.5% compared to the same period of 2022, and more than doubled compared to the first six months of 2021. The Future Crew analysts note that, while collecting such information allows Internet users receiving more targeted advertising offers, many can disable this website functionality.

Web trackers are programs built into the website code to collect information about user activity. They are automatically activated once a user enters a website and may collect information such as e-mail addresses, login credentials, payment details, search preferences, length of time the users spend on websites, location data, the type of device used, apps downloaded, etc. Web tracking is mainly targeted at monetizing the collected information — targeted ads taking into account the interests of users, website optimizing according to the preferences of visitors, etc.

In the first six months of 2023, almost 47 billion tracker activations were recorded on the websites visited by MTS subscribers, which amounted to 4% of the total volume of communication of MTS subscribers with web resources. Over six months of 2022, the number of such activations reached 40 billion, with only 21 billion in the first six months of 2021.

Herewith, the volume of tracker-generated traffic is decreasing: on average, this figure was 326 terabytes for the first 6 months of 2023, which is 11.5% less than for the same period last year. Future Crew analysts explain the trend by possible tracker optimization, which allows collecting not all available information about the users, but only the information which will be useful to website owners. This may also be due to changed people’s behavior on the Internet due to the blocking of a number of web resources.

Kirill Malkov, Director for Data Management at the Future Crew Innovation Center at MTS RED, commented on the study results as follows: “326 TB of user data is the same amount as 81 million copies of War and Peace in Microsoft Word format. Essentially, the information collected by web trackers helps get various products and services closer to the interests of users. However, not everyone likes their data being used to target promotions. Therefore, those concerned about their privacy on the Internet should think about using the corresponding tools for web tracker blocking.”

When visiting a web page, an average of 21 trackers are activated. The number of trackers launched on the website depends on the resource topic. The largest number of trackers being 32 are activated on average on the pages of the news websites, followed by online stores (26 trackers), video hosting websites (22 trackers), social media and IT resources (18 trackers).

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