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Privacy Winning Search Engine War 92

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-don't-even-know-who-you-are-anymore dept.
amigoro writes "Privacy is emerging as the real winner of the Internet search engine war as companies aggressively compete with one another by offering stronger protections for user records, a report published today by the Center for Democracy and Technology concluded. The report notes that until recently, most of the major Internet search engines kept detailed and potentially personally identifiable records of their customers' searches indefinitely. But today the companies are trying to outdo each other in privacy protection by announcing steps to delete old user data, strip the personally identifiable information out of stored search records, and, in one case, give users the option to have all of their search records deleted."
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Privacy Winning Search Engine War

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  • right (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 08, 2007 @09:17PM (#20164687)
    expansion of privacy rights is needed for people as well as the reduction of rights for corporations. allowing the full deletion of records is a move in the right direction.
  • by ILuvRamen (1026668) on Wednesday August 08, 2007 @09:20PM (#20164715)
    EVERYONE has something they've searched for that they don't want anyone finding out about and probably don't want advertisers knowing about especially. I mean really, anything from looking up diseases you might have to really obscure things or trying to find out information that "everyone" knows to something sexual to your purhcase histories to just about anything else. I can't think of any serious internet user who be okay with every search term they've ever typed seen by anyone else in the world at all.
  • by echucker (570962) on Wednesday August 08, 2007 @09:26PM (#20164745) Homepage
    how do the search engines communicate these privacy options to the user? If it's not easy to opt-out, it won't matter.
  • by daeg (828071) on Wednesday August 08, 2007 @09:27PM (#20164759)
    One of the problems is that each search by itself likely isn't personally identifiable, nor is a single search harmful.

    The problem lies when any company can start connecting you typing in "John Smith" (searching yourself), "webmail.myemployer.com" (accidental search vs. address bar), and "my little pony porn".
  • what BS... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 08, 2007 @09:29PM (#20164761)
    Privacy is emerging as the real winner of the Internet search engine war

    No. Google has emerged as the winner. Why? Because they offer a good search engine product. The results are very, very likely to be relevant. No one else comes close. The average person doesn't know or care about privacy issues. But they do care about quick & easy searches.

    The report notes that until recently, most of the major Internet search engines kept detailed and potentially personally identifiable records of their customers' searches for as indefinitely.

    And in some countries, they are required by law to do exactly that.

    But today the companies are trying to outdo each other in privacy protection by announcing steps to delete old user data, strip the personally identifiable information out of stored search records

    And how do you know this? Do you have any real proof they do this aside from them saying so?

    a report published today by the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT)

    This is just wishful thinking trying to get attention. Sort of like a Gartner report.
  • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Wednesday August 08, 2007 @09:35PM (#20164797)
    4. Your check is in the mail.

    3. I won't come in your mouth

    2. I'm from the government and I'm here to help you.

    1. We'll delete your personal information.
  • by VariableGHz (1099185) <variableghz@gm a i l . c om> on Wednesday August 08, 2007 @09:39PM (#20164839) Homepage

    If it's not easy to opt-out, it won't matter.
    Those who care will figure out how to opt-out. Those who don't care in the first place are probably not the kind of people who read a privacy policy anyhow.
  • Completely bogus (Score:2, Insightful)

    by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Wednesday August 08, 2007 @09:44PM (#20164865) Journal
    How in the world is anybody going to verify that the data is actually being "shredded"? I don't believe this for a second.
  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Wednesday August 08, 2007 @09:55PM (#20164927)

    1. We'll delete your personal information.

    Eh. I'm inclined to believe that, given how datacenter space ain't free and user data is a bit of a liability, they're happy to dump your data after a month or two. If they haven't aggregated it and sold it off to another company by then, they probably never will.

    I think this is simply marketing spin on a sensible business decision: namely, someone realized they were getting everything they needed within hours or days.

  • by blahplusplus (757119) on Wednesday August 08, 2007 @09:59PM (#20164949)
    I really REALLY doubt the "big winner" is privacy, as long as there is money to be made from knowing as much as possible companies will find a way.

    No one is going to give up personal information thats worth billions of dollars in terms of market research and increasing profits for many industries.
  • by tonsofpcs (687961) <{slashback} {at} {tonsofpcs.com}> on Wednesday August 08, 2007 @10:05PM (#20164993) Homepage Journal
    How about the best way of protecting user search records: DON'T CREATE ANY.
  • Re:right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrsteveman1 (1010381) on Wednesday August 08, 2007 @11:15PM (#20165465)
    Except that most of these companies are merely claiming to do so, we have no idea what is actually being kept either due to internal policy or some sort of government interaction. I would not put it past the current justice dept to force all these companies to publicly claim to have removed data while privately making it available to relevant 3 letter agencies.
  • by DwarfGoanna (447841) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @02:09AM (#20166369)
    That's funny, because I didn't notice it at all.

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