The CSI-COP project aims to investigate online tracking in websites and in apps. To help the team explore we have invited members of the public to volunteer as citizen scientists.


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.

CSI-COP Stakeholder

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 ten partner consortium made up of six 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.

CSI-COP Partner’s

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.

Expected impacts

  • Development of New Knowledge and Innovations by Citizen Scientist
  • Availability of Evaluation Data concerning the societal, democratic and economic costs and benefits of citizen science
  • Impact on the Citizen Scientists
  • Impact on Responsible Research and Innovation
  • Impact on the science: GDPR compliance
  • Impact on Society

CSI-COP GDPR-Apps-Graphic-TEXT-Version

Additional impact

  • Screen time
  • Staying safer online
  • Upskilling the Public and Educators
  • Improving pro-privacy development in higher education courses
  • Consortium Partner’s website privacy compliance
  • Reducing Barriers
  • Gender, socio-economic and geographical factors



CSI-COP’s approach to investigating GDPR compliance in cookies and apps is to recruit citizen scientists to conduct this exploration as they go about their daily lives using the Internet. This approach requires:

  • Understanding issues in citizen science engagement (motivation, drop-off in interest if not supported)
  • Adopting the best methods for recruitment of an inclusive community of citizen scientists from a broad background (young people and adults)
  • Developing an effective training materials that are easy to follow in CSI-COP’s training workshops to enable citizen scientists to learn about GDPR, and how to investigate GDPR compliance in cookies and apps
  • Sustaining the citizen scientists’ motivation through the investigation phase ensuring queries on execution are answered promptly by the consortium scientists
  • Receiving sufficient information from citizen scientists on trackers in cookies and apps that can be recorded in databases as they are collected
  • Systematically mapping of types of trackers produced as a taxonomy of digital trackers
  • Creating a repository of trackers from the taxonomy, designing it as an open-access web-based knowledge resource of trackers in cookies and apps
  • Communicating, disseminating and exploiting CSI-COP’s project findings raising awareness of the repository as a tool for data protection policy makers, privacy researchers, technology journalists, citizen science researchers, educators, software developers, members of the general public through the main project event, scientific publications, citizen science-stakeholder cafés, and Parent-teacher round tables

CSI-COP CSI-COP-Ecosystem-diagram-002

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01/01/20 - 30/06/23
Start Date - End Date
Overall Budget
EU contribution