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[liberationtech] Fwd: Meet the iMarker, Russian targeted ad service which analyze your traffic on ISP side

Collin Anderson collin at
Thu Jan 8 14:21:34 PST 2015

Not the type to crosspost but this might be a fun measurement project for
people on the list.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Anton Nesterov <komachi at>
Date: Thu, Jan 8, 2015 at 3:45 PM
Subject: Meet the iMarker, Russian targeted ad service which analyze your
traffic on ISP side
To: cypherpunks at

How it works?

ISPs install the iMarker equipment and mirror all user's traffic on it
(Russian surveillance system, SORM, works the same way). Software takes
time, URL and HTTP Headers from HTTP requests. Then scraper with IP and User-Agent WebIndex follow every visited URL and
analyze its content. All this information used to build a profile for
user. They says that information is removed right after analysis, and
software saves only result of that analysis. Their website lists that
they categorize users by search queries, online shopping activity, time
of visits, activity on social networks, keywords on visited pages,
visited websites, social-demographic info, such as sex, age, marital
status, and education level, and then they use that data to distribute
users for consumers groups. Every user has some kind of pseudonymous ID
with linked profile.

It's also has an opt-out option

How many users affected?

They says it's 38 million people all over Russia. Minister of
Communication Nikolay Nikiforov said in 2014 there was 62 million people
in Russia using Internet, 56m of them do it every day, so it's 61% of
Russian Internet users. iMarker's website list Akado, Rostelecom,
ER-Telecom, NetByNet, Qwerty, and TTK as ISPs that installed iMarker's

How to check if this affects you?

If you are a client of Russian ISP, you can check it here If you own a webserver, grep the logs for
connections from

How do check script works?

It generate a random link and wait for 3 seconds for connection from
iMarker's IP address.

How long iMarker works?

Company start work on January 2010, commercial sells started on August 2011. — script that checks if your ISP use iMarker —
report on iMarker from 2013, says they are ready to provide free DPI to
ISPs in exchange of user's data (Russian) — blog post quoting private
mails from iMarker's crew (Russian) — TOS (Russian) — blog post about iMarker (Russian) — iMarker website (Russian) — opt-out page (Russian) — Nikiforov's statement
on number of Russian Internet users (Russian)

GPG key: 0CE8 65F1 9043 2B11 25A5 74A7 1187 6869 67AA 56E4

*Collin David Anderson* | @cda | Washington, D.C.
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