Date of Original Version

5-13-2014

Type

Conference Proceeding

Rights Management

© 2015 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. Permission from IEEE must be obtained for all other uses, in any current or future media, including reprinting/republishing this material for advertising or promotional purposes, creating new collective works, for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or reuse of any copyrighted component of this work in other works.

Abstract or Description

Information flow analysis has largely ignored the setting where the analyst has neither control over nor a complete model of the analyzed system. We formalize such limited information flow analyses and study an instance of it: detecting the usage of data by websites. We prove that these problems are ones of causal inference. Leveraging this connection, we push beyond traditional information flow analysis to provide a systematic methodology based on experimental science and statistical analysis. Our methodology allows us to systematize prior works in the area viewing them as instances of a general approach. Our systematic study leads to practical advice for improving work on detecting data usage, a previously unformalized area. We illustrate these concepts with a series of experiments collecting data on the use of information by websites, which we statistically analyze

DOI

10.1109/CSF.2015.40

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Published In

Proceedings of the IEEE Computer Security Foundations Symposium (CSF), 2015, 554-568.