Opportunities and Challenges of Ad-based Measurements from the Edge of the Network
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For many years, the research community, practitioners, and regulators have used myriad methods and tools to understand the complex structure and behavior of ISPs from the edge of the network. Unfortunately, the nature of these techniques forces the researcher to find a balance between ISP-coverage, user scale, and accuracy. In this paper we present AdTag, a network measurement paradigm that leverages the opportunistic nature of online targeted advertising to measure the Internet from the edge of the network. We discuss and formalize AdTag's design space---including technical, ethical, deployability and economic factors---and its potential to analyze a wide spectrum of Internet connectivity aspects from the browser. We run several experiments to demonstrate that AdTag can be tailored towards geographic and device-based user groups, finding also several challenges to be faced in order to maximize the number of samples. In a 7-day campaign, AdTag could access more than 20K ISPs at a global scale (185 countries) using millions of edge nodes.