The Arbeitsgemeinschaft Online Forschung e. V. (AGOF) [Working Group for Online Media Research] abides by all data protection regulations.
The Arbeitsgemeinschaft Online Forschung e. V. (AGOF) [Working Group for Online Media Research], the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Media-Analyse e. V. (ag.ma) [Media Analysis Working Committee] and the Informationsgemeinschaft zur Feststellung der Verbreitung von Werbeträgern e. V. (IVW) [German Association for Verification of the Circulation of Advertising Media] take great care to abide by the data protection regulations, which apply in Germany. They never intend to identify a user. With an early anonymisation of data in collecting technical metrics to merging data, they take care to safeguard the user’s privacy.
AGOF’s and ag.ma’s aim in media coverage analyses is to determine the use of online media based on a measurement method tested by IVW. Studies carried out in the process contain only statistic data.
1. Data processing
AGOF, ag.ma and IVW take great care to abide by the data protection regulations. This is why they took all technical and organisational precautions necessary to immediately anonymise automatically generated possibly personally identifiable information.
1.1. IP address
Every computer is assigned an unambiguous address to transfer data online. On the Internet, this address consists of a numerical sequence and is called IP address. Given the way the Internet works, a system’s IP address must be temporarily stored in the respective processing system; a fact, which cannot be prevented. In order to rule out personally identifiable information linked to the IP address, the system immediately anonymises the IP address by cutting off the last group of numbers.
AGOF, ag.ma and IVW use a cookie called “ioam.de” to collect user information. Cookies are small text files stored on the user’s hard drive. This text file contains a random identification sent from a browser each time the user accesses a website.
Participating customers integrate a special code into their websites to set the cookie.
1.3. Browser identification number
If a user’s browser does not accept cookies, an identification number (here: signature) based on the anonymised IP address and the respective web browser is created. The creation of such an identification number is based on an encryption algorithm. This, along with other anonymisation measures, ensures that the identification number is technically not identifiable. It will never be linked to the original data.
Some websites use an anonymised login to recognise a computer system. This login is based on the user name. The user name is encrypted with an algorithm using a random number. This random number is created by the respective website provider and is not sent to other database systems. Thus, a physical separation is ensured, and only anonymous information can be processed.
A so-called geolocation, i.e. the identification of the actual geographic location of a user accessing a website, is exclusively based on the anonymised IP address and can only be traced back to the level of a federal state in Germany. The geographic data generated accordingly do by no means identify the user’s place of residence.
1.6. Record number
AGOF, ag.ma and IVW create an internal record number for the analysis of online surfing behaviour. This number is generated automatically, following the principle of the next number available (NextNumber). If the system identifies a matching website access by the same anonymised user, it will merge these data under the above-mentioned record number. In particular cases, it will thus be possible to merge several browsers under one record number.
Evaluations regarding the online surfing behaviour are based on the anonymous record number exclusively.
1.7. Other data linked to website access
Website providers organise their sites’ content into a system of categories. Any information on the respective category will be transferred with an implemented code on the website. Information on the category of content accessed by a user, the time of access as well as the website’s domain will be stored.
1.8. Personal data
The studies resulting from the collection contain nothing but statistical data, thus AGOF, ag.ma and IVW do not collect any personal data such as name, date of birth, telephone number, or address of the users.
If the email address is required during the voluntary participation in a study, it will only be used to send participants a link to another online questionnaire. The technical separation within the system ensures that an email address can never be linked to the contents of the database.
AGOF and ag.ma will display a questionnaire to random website visitors. Displaying the questionnaires follows a random pattern and is not affected by AGOF or ag.ma in any way. Participation in the survey is voluntary and anonymous. At the end of the voluntary survey, visitors will be asked to take part in another survey, the so-called follow-up survey. Here, it is necessary to voluntarily provide an email address. The email address will only be used to send a link to the follow-up survey. After sending out the link, the address will immediately be deleted from the system.
If participants use another browser to answer the follow-up questionnaire, data from both browsers will be collected and merged under one record number on the system.
3. Data analysis
When analysing data, we aim at a statistical presentation of surfing behaviour across all participating websites. We will never analyse an individual user’s data. If the user behaviour is based on the anonymous record number, the analysis will always be an intermediate step to create an overall statistic.
The evaluation of the results is carried out in cycles. At a predefined time, all data available will be evaluated according to their record number, and the statistical results are generated. The only aim of this measurement method is to statistically identify the online use during a specific period of time in order to be able to offer the market a value to determine the media coverage (number of users) of individual websites.
Information on user behaviour will be permanently deleted after seven months at the latest.
5. Opt-out function
By clicking on this link, you can object to the processing of your data at all times.