CORDIS - EU research results

Citizen Scientists Investigating Cookies and App GDPR compliance

Project description

Citizen scientists protecting your privacy

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an EU law that requires organisations to safeguard personal data and uphold the privacy rights of anyone in EU territory. Citizen scientists can play a valuable role in ensuring privacy and providing a better understanding of what information is tracked online. The EU-funded CSI-COP project will mobilise citizen scientists from across Europe and beyond to investigate the different types of trackers in cookies and apps. Moreover, it will develop methods to preserve privacy in the collection of data. The project will offer training material to informally instruct citizen scientists on the GDPR, aiming to produce a taxonomy of trackers that will subsequently be used to create an open-access repository.


The CSI-COP project will investigate GDPR compliance to better understand how far we are being tracked-by-default as we use the Internet visiting websites and apps on our mobile devices. CSI-COP will engage citizen scientists to address the growing concerns in society around privacy issues, and the methods that attempt to ensure integrity in the collection and use of data.
Regardless of background, a community of CSI-COP citizen scientists will be recruited from across Europe and beyond. A series of free-to-attend workshops and a MOOC will be developed with training material to informally educate about GDPR. CSI-COP’s community of citizen scientists will be a) fully trained to explore cookies and apps for embedded trackers, b) supported throughout their research, CSI-COP citizen scientists will investigate cookies on websites they normally visit, and apps on smart devices they use daily, and c) encouraged to record and report to the CSI-COP consortium the number and types of trackers they uncover in cookies and apps.
CSI-COP’s well connected eleven partner consortium made up of seven universities, one non-profit, two SMEs and one Association will promote and support the citizen scientists as role models, with the university partners inviting them post-project as pro-privacy champions.
The unique findings on digital trackers uncovered by the citizen scientists will be systematically mapped by CSI-COP consortium producing a taxonomy of trackers. The tracker taxonomy will be used to create an online repository. The repository will be available as an open-access knowledge resource on trackers embedded in cookies and apps. The knowledge resource will be a tool useful for a variety of stakeholders including data protection researchers, GDPR compliance regulators, tech journalists, software developers, parents, teachers, higher education curriculum developers, and any organisation that provides computers for public use such as libraries.

Call for proposal


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Net EU contribution
€ 546 787,50
CV1 5FB Coventry
United Kingdom

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West Midlands (England) West Midlands Coventry
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 546 787,50

Participants (10)