Being online anonymously is harder than you think

Washington: If you thought you were anonymous online, think again. A new study has revealed that your browsing behavior can indicate your personality and provide a unique digital signature that can identify you, sometimes after just 30-minutes of browsing.

“Our research suggests a person’s personality traits can be deduced by their general internet usage. This differs from other studies that have only looked at the use of social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter,” said lead author Dr Ikusan R. Adeyemi of the Universiti Teknologi.

He continued that revealing that these behavioral signatures exist opens up new research into understanding online behavior.

The study recruited volunteers and monitored their internet usage. This included many factors such as the duration of the internet session, number of websites browsed and total number of requests made.

The analysis of this data revealed strong links between a person’s personality and browsing behavior. For example, an individual’s level of conscientiousness could be distinguished within a 30-minute session of online browsing.

“Online marketing organizations can use our findings to reliably tailor their product to a specific audience; it can be used to develop an intelligent internet service that can predict and personalize a user’s experience,” explained Dr. Adeyami, “It can also be used as a complementary way of increasing security for online identification and authentication. Law enforcement agencies can also apply our findings in the investigation of online crime cases.”

Further research by Dr Adeyami and his colleagues hope to reveal more patterns across the five personality traits investigated, which will help to map an individual’s personality signature and increase our understanding of online behavior.

The study appears in Frontiers in ICT. (ANI)