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Privacy Winning Search Engine War

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the I-don't-even-know-who-you-are-anymore dept.

Privacy 92

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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the internet is really great... (4, Funny)

weak* (1137369) | more than 6 years ago | (#20164675)

I haven't actually looked, but I'm POSITIVE that Booble is leading the way here.

Re:the internet is really great... (1)

eboluuuh (1139173) | more than 6 years ago | (#20164747)

I checked and I suppose you're right.

Re:the internet is really great... (1)

VariableGHz (1099185) | more than 6 years ago | (#20164821)

in one case, give users the option to have all of their search records deleted.


Now that's what I'm talkin' about.

Privacy wins the gold! (3, Funny)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165829)

In a stunning finale Privacy has defeated both Corporate Greed, and Governmental Curiosity in a come-from-behind victory. Although Privacy is usually the one approached from behind by the other two contenders, in the Great Search-Engine Race of 2007 Privacy managed to squeak out a win from the competition. This is what Privacy had to say when we approached it about this completely unexpected and unheralded victory:

"Uh...no comment?"

Fantastic words from a fantastic Ideal. Back to you, Bob.

Re:Privacy wins the gold! (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 6 years ago | (#20170327)

Privacy is actually being pushed forward by Corporate Greed in this case.

Re:the internet is really great... (1)

GigG (887839) | more than 6 years ago | (#20170059)

I haven't actually looked, but I'm POSITIVE that Booble is leading the way here."


Which kind of proves the headline of the story wrong, doesn't it.

right (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:right (5, Insightful)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20167765)

I would not put it past the current justice dept...

I wouldn't put it past any government sufficiently large enough (in terms of both revenue and power over the people) to do such a thing. History shows that where power exists, it will be used. (I hate to say "abused" because in my belief, the very notion of power itself is abuse.)

The US government has been the most expensive [nationalreview.com] government for quite some time, and obviously the most powerful, with military bases in some 150 countries around the world. Would I be surprised to discover even more corruption on top of the mountains of corruption which already exist? Not in the slightest.

Logically, the more government, the more corruption.

Re:right (1)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 6 years ago | (#20170999)

> Logically, the more government, the more corruption.

Actually, there is about as much logic contained in that statement as there is irony in an Alanis Morissette song.

not surprising cuz.... (5, Insightful)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:not surprising cuz.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20164849)

You can get around this by disabling cookies. Should you have to is the question. However, it is hard to do due diligence.

In any case, it is better that search engines improve privacy than luring innocent users into using so-called Poxie Servers [digg.com] ;-)

Re:not surprising cuz.... (4, Insightful)

tonsofpcs (687961) | more than 6 years ago | (#20164993)

How about the best way of protecting user search records: DON'T CREATE ANY.

Re:not surprising cuz.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20165751)

The thing about data mining is its about creating better services. Normally anyway.

For example google. When I use google as a spell checker it sometimes suggests dictionary. How would they of figured out that people use google as a spell checker? magic?

       

Re:not surprising cuz.... (0, Troll)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165755)

are you amish? Not use search engines? I hope you mean use proxies when U use them (cuz with proxies you still create a search record, just they don't know it's you)

Re:not surprising cuz.... (1)

tonsofpcs (687961) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165785)

The search engine can be written to not store records linked to users or IPs. They can be configured to use secure forms so that no one can monitor what you search for. It's not that hard.

Re:not surprising cuz.... (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 6 years ago | (#20166279)

Here's a hint for you, not everybody, knows everything about everything on this planet, hence surprisingly enough they look it up on a search engine, to find what the term or phrase means. Lets take this as an example http://www.google.com.au/search?aq=t&oq=&hl=en&q=b ombe+alaska&btnG=Search&meta= [google.com.au] so am I looking for a dessert recipe, or am I a terrorist with typo problems wanting to blow up Alaska.

I suppose it all depends on whether some low IQ, anal retentive, privacy invasive pervert, at which ever three letter agency is looking to fill their quota, or has a grudge against you, or just doesn't like your slashdot postings.

And shit, what do you know, it is all digital, so no matter what they want to put against your name, the can just edit the logs and voila, a complete record of nefarious search entries, now, you prove different.

When it comes to refining, filtering and tweaking your net searches, the only place it should be stored is locally on your computer, it is only your business and no one else's, as for google the proctologist of the Internet, and it's ilk, you can do what ever you like, legislation to force the respect of other people's privacy will be jammed down your greedy maws whether your lobbyists like it or not ;).

Re:not surprising cuz.... (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 6 years ago | (#20167105)

And then how will I find my pictures of goats in latex coats?

Re:not surprising cuz.... (1)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165239)

EVERYONE has something they've searched for that they don't want anyone finding out about

I assert that search terms are basically "things searchers think about". It follows that a list of my search terms are a list of things I think about. This is kind of scary when you look at some of the implications. For example, governments who conduct secret surveillance of their citizens can, in a sense, read their citizens' minds. Hey look, that guy just thought about "how to make a nuclear bomb". I could go on, but I think the average Slashdotter can see the problem.

Re:not surprising cuz.... (1)

dragonquest (1003473) | more than 6 years ago | (#20166647)

You can try IxQuick [ixquick.com] . Its a metasearch, and you can read about their privacy protection policy here [ixquick.com] .

It's about time too... (1)

RG1985 (1026380) | more than 6 years ago | (#20164723)

I don't like the idea that a simple google search results in my personal information being stored on someone's server out there in cyberspace. There's a reason its called personal information

Re:It's about time too... (3, Insightful)

daeg (828071) | more than 6 years ago | (#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".

Re:It's about time too... (1)

carlivar (119811) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165587)

Your best best is to create a search engine yourself then, that crawls the entire web. Then you can be sure your personal information is safe in your personal search engine.

That's great, but..... (3, Insightful)

echucker (570962) | more than 6 years ago | (#20164745)

how do the search engines communicate these privacy options to the user? If it's not easy to opt-out, it won't matter.

Re:That's great, but..... (2, Insightful)

VariableGHz (1099185) | more than 6 years ago | (#20164839)

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.

DIY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20164843)

- erase all your cookies
- use a new browser/version to change your USER_AGENT (or hack it)
- reboot your modem to get a new IP address.

what BS... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:what BS... (2, Informative)

Mazin07 (999269) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165271)

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.
They meant that the good result of search engine competition is privacy, not that privacy policies are what determines market share.

Re:what BS... (1)

trifish (826353) | more than 6 years ago | (#20167101)

And in some countries, they are required by law to do exactly that.
That's nonsense. AFAIK, no civilised country has such laws. Would you back up your claims with verifiable references please?

Re:what BS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20168093)

This [wikipedia.org] comes pretty close. And if you scroll down you'll see that British ISPs just roll over and spread their customers' legs to just about any government agency, as you might expect in this amazingly pathetic country. I don't think these laws apply to search engines, but they definitely refute the "no civilised country would do this" argument. Unless you want to call the EU and Britain uncivilised, which is something anyone with a mind to liberty might consider.

Re:what BS... (1)

trifish (826353) | more than 6 years ago | (#20168865)

If you are the parent poster, you're a troll. Let me quote the exchange:

"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.

I asked in which civilised countries the laws require search engines to keep detailed and potentially personally identifiable records of their customers' searches for as indefinitely. The answer was a link to a Wikipedia snipets of info on time-limited requirements (not indefinite) imposed on ISPs and telecoms -- not on Search Engines!

Troll on.

The Four Great Lies (5, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:The Four Great Lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20164873)

Wow, are you clinically paranoid or just an idiot?

Re:The Four Great Lies (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20165051)

Probably a broke dude who asked the government for help and now has a bad taste in his mouth.

Re:The Four Great Lies (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165105)

Probably a broke dude who asked the government for help and now has a bad taste in his mouth.

Now, see ... that was funny, and definitely in the spirit of things. Had to laugh when I read it.

Re:The Four Great Lies (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 6 years ago | (#20166431)

Better summarized on a toilet cubicle at a Uni I wonce attended:
Little boy blue - he needed the money.

Re:The Four Great Lies (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165063)

Son, you need to gain a sense of humor. It will make your time spent on Slashdot much more pleasant, because I could call you all sorts of names and make you feel really bad about yourself. You're obviously new here (and honestly a bit of a boor) so I'll let you off easy this time.

I believe them. They aggregate. (2, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:I believe them. They aggregate. (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165089)

... and sold it off to another company by then ...

Which pretty much makes whatever point it was that I was trying to make. The reality is that once information has been recorded somewhere, if it's valuable then someone, somewhere, will try to keep it. That's because personal information is valuable ... if it weren't, this entire discussion would be pointless.

Re:I believe them. They aggregate. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20165699)

It's TWO YEARS at all major engines. I feel so respected!

Re:I believe them. They aggregate. (1)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 6 years ago | (#20167587)

Funny how everyone believes the Government has limitless disk space to record every phone call, email and conversation at your local bar, yet companies like Google, who own huge chunks of the world's recording hardware, can't afford to keep the data.

Such information is far more valuable to corporations than it is to the government (alien spec-ops aside) so if you think the government may be snooping on your private data, then it has to be a complete certainty that companies like Google are!

Although I doubt anyone will care until Will Smith does a couple of films involving being chased by "Google goons" because he has a copy of the youtube video involving Larry Page and an under-age midget!

Re:I believe them. They aggregate. (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20176499)

... Larry Page and an under-age midget!

Yeah, but she looked a lot older.

Re:The Four Great Lies (1)

trifish (826353) | more than 6 years ago | (#20167117)

1. We'll delete your personal information

Publicly available Privacy Policy must be complied with. Otherwise, they're just nothing but a bunch of criminals. Yes, laws enforce Privacy Policies (at least here in the EU -- don't know about US).

Re:The Four Great Lies (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20167767)

Your naivete is almost endearing, but doesn't change the fact that information is bought and sold on the open market. Take Choicepoint for example (matter of fact, it's their security policies that ought to be up for questioning here, not their privacy policy.) It really does not matter whether the company that originally collected your data automatically deletes it after some set interval. Once that information has been transferred to a third (or fourth, or fifth) party it isn't yours anymore. Worse yet, if your data is simply stolen then privacy policies are irrelevant.

The stuff shouldn't be stored. Period.

Re:The Four Great Lies (1)

trifish (826353) | more than 6 years ago | (#20168815)

So you think it's naive that Google managers want to abide by the laws? Let me tell you that YOU are the one who's being naive.

Re:The Four Great Lies (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 6 years ago | (#20169049)

So you think it's naive that Google managers want to abide by the laws?

No, but it is naive to think that Google managers want to abide by the laws?

There's a big difference between the two beliefs.

And note that Google managers, like any organization's managers, aren't a lock-step, unanimous group. It's quite likely that most of them are honest and law-abiding. But it only takes one.

The prudent approach would be to expect that some of them will do anything with their data that's technically possible. Expecting anything else is what's naive, especially now that they're "publicly traded", i.e., primarily motivated by the wishes of their stockholders. Like any other publicly-traded company.

Re:The Four Great Lies (1)

trifish (826353) | more than 6 years ago | (#20169147)

But it only takes one.

No it doesn't. You clearly don't know anything about big corporations, nota bene public ones and closely watched ones, such as Google. Ever heard of internal security audits? Managers watching over subordinate managers? Data flow control? If one manager dared to not comply with the laws, he would sooner or later be found, fired and handed over to a Law Enforcement agency. If you think that Google would dare to violate laws at this point, you are the one who's naive. It would pretty much destroy their reputation.

Re:The Four Great Lies (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20176687)

If one manager dared to not comply with the laws, he would sooner or later be found, fired and handed over to a Law Enforcement agency.

If that were true, explain Enron to me. Worldcom. Adelphia. Global Crossing. Yes, the eventually got found out, but only after the damage was done!

You clearly don't know anything about big corporations. I can assure you that sooner or later that "one manager" will fail to comply with the law, either out of ignorance or for personal gain. That's the way it is: people aren't perfect and they often do wrong, and frankly I don't want my privacy subject to other people's witlessness or ethical lapses. Doesn't even take a manager either ... it just takes one low-level employee willing to take a bribe, or trying to make a buck by selling what doesn't belong to him. Lest you think I'm making this up, here's one example [msn.com] . It happens all the time, and when there's money to be made laws will be broken with impunity. To think otherwise is just fooling yourself.

The law has deterrent effect, sure ... but it's not infinite and people will take risks in spite of that. Remember when Toshiba sold military milling machines to the Russians (in violation of both Japanese law and ours) which allowed them to make silent submarine propellers? No? Well, apparently the Russians have turned around and sold that technology to China. The same thing happens with valuable information. People don't willing throw away assets, and once a secret is out it tends to spread.

Once you've opened a can of worms, the only way to recan them is to use a larger can. When it comes to information, the entire world is the can.

Re:The Four Great Lies (1)

trifish (826353) | more than 6 years ago | (#20180027)

If that were true, explain Enron to me. Worldcom. Adelphia. Global Crossing. Yes, the eventually got found out

You should have stopped after the part "Yes, the eventually got found out". I didn't have to read any further.

If you believe that Google would risk their reputation even though the likelihood of their being found to be criminals(!) is substantial, then you're naive. I say go ahead and risk it, I can't wait to see the Google empire fall down as Enron.

aggressively? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20164801)

"Aggressively competing"? It's pretty damned lax competition for privacy that results in most search engines storing complete IP-to-query correlation data for 13-18 months.

I also saw no mention of companies' nonexistent respect for users' privacy once the government comes knocking. Do you really think they're going to demand a warrant, especially now that they'd be threatening their own hides to defy spy agencies gone mad fighting "terror"? And what good is it to you that records of your personal (and non-criminal) behavior are discarded after a year and a half, when the NSA has a back-room tap on the live feed?

No, this is far from aggressive. You'd do better printing out your search queries with your name on them and stapling them to telephone poles around town. At least then the wind, rain, and band announcements would wipe them away within a few days.

For some actual privacy, use something like TOR [eff.org] .

Completely bogus (2, Insightful)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#20164865)

How in the world is anybody going to verify that the data is actually being "shredded"? I don't believe this for a second.

Re: bogosity (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20164979)



Pick your engine and don't give them the information in the first place [blackboxsearch.com] .

Re: bogosity (1)

uucp2 (731567) | more than 6 years ago | (#20167223)

What makes you think it is better to give the information to blackboxsearch.com instead of Google?

Re:Completely bogus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20165011)

Have a judge serve a search warrant for the said information. See if the company comes up with it or not.

Re:Completely bogus (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 6 years ago | (#20169179)

How in the world is anybody going to verify that the data is actually being "shredded"?

Over the years, there have been a number of stories about organizations (companies, government agencies, etc.) that complied with court orders, laws, etc., and deleted data - after first making several backup copies.

There's also the ongoing story of all the people who are surprised (often in court) by the stuff they thought deleted that turned out to be backed up. It's especially funny when politicians are surprised to learn that their emails have been routinely backed up by their sysadmins.

Getting stuff out of google's cache can be especially difficult. Getting it out of all search sites' caches is effectively impossible.

you know this kind of reminds me of (4, Interesting)

wamerocity (1106155) | more than 6 years ago | (#20164867)

that one episode of south park, 1104, The Snuke. While a hilarious episode, what was so funny was how everybody was able to do a background check on the terrorists by 'crosschecking' their myspace/youtube/jdate/personal blog/ebay/craigslist/google searches/realtor.com/etc etc accounts with each other. While it was a funny play on Web 2.0 it also shows just how much of our personal information is out there, and can be easily tracked down by just about anyone with a brain, some spare time, and an internet connection.

I sure as hell don't want ALL of my searches available to anyone...

Re:you know this kind of reminds me of (4, Funny)

Mistlefoot (636417) | more than 6 years ago | (#20164941)

Don't worry. You have nothing to fear.

Cnet, phonescoop, slashdot, angelfire, ebay, livejournal, boston.com, viewscore, silverscreeninfo, aolmobile, chicagotribune, sympatico-msn.ca,

And I only looked at the first 3 pages!

http://www.google.ca/search?q=wamerocity&hl=en&cli ent=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&hs=KN c&start=0&sa=N/ [google.ca]

And yes, I know. I'm there too. :P

Re:you know this kind of reminds me of (2, Funny)

conteXXt (249905) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165085)

Dude!!!! Do me next!

P.S. (only # 6 is really me :-)

Re:you know this kind of reminds me of (1)

EveLibertine (847955) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165725)

Just number 6?

p.s. It's "Hear! Hear!" by the way.

Also, my results show only a couple of good hits, but that's what I get for choosing such a wacky username. [wikipedia.org]
I've never been to Ubi.com, those aren't my flickr photos, and I most certainly do not have a Level 70 Human Warlock.
Furthermore, my real name yields only 4 search results belonging to someone else who was attempting to research their own geneology. Neat.

Re:you know this kind of reminds me of (1)

conteXXt (249905) | more than 6 years ago | (#20166123)

Are you really sure you want to correct me? I mean you weren't exactly Shakespeare in your critique of "ManHole Trawlers" [imdb.com] on imdb. (Just kidding)

Re:you know this kind of reminds me of (1)

EveLibertine (847955) | more than 6 years ago | (#20177965)

Touché!

Re:you know this kind of reminds me of (1)

conteXXt (249905) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187373)

Did I just make a new friend?

I know that response was totally uncalled for but I was in that kind of mood :-)

Thanks for being kind with your answer.

Re:you know this kind of reminds me of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20165743)

Oh, come on you guys use google for your resumes and you know it.

Re:you know this kind of reminds me of (1)

conteXXt (249905) | more than 6 years ago | (#20166077)

Oh sure, "Nonny", like we ALL haven't seen your comments/resume/personal details.

Damn, I even know your phone number. (Unknown Caller)

Re:you know this kind of reminds me of (1)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 6 years ago | (#20168165)

I'm not. I use this name on two places here (where it doesn't even turn up as the first link) and on http://www.revleft.com/ [revleft.com] (which doesn't turn up on the first two pages).

It would be possible to work out who I really was just from that information, but it is probably difficult.

I use a different name everywhere else on the web, mostly common names or phrases. I don't sign into search, and I don't save my search preferences. I auto-delete cookies, and have JavaScript disabled (NoScript) on most places.

Of course, I'm not an uneducated member of the public. Bugger that hey.

Privacy really a winner? I smell damage control... (3, Insightful)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

What is marketable? (1)

StreetStealth (980200) | more than 6 years ago | (#20166109)

Point well taken. However, if privacy can be made marketable, that could turn the situation on its head, with businesses standing to lose more from customers fleeing than from missed demographic data revenue. A shame this could never happen in the ISP market.

Re:What is marketable? (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 6 years ago | (#20168873)

"with businesses standing to lose more from customers fleeing than from missed demographic data revenue."

The truth is businesses will never be totally transparent, it will be akin to what wal-mart does, they are so big and widespread they can get away with selling knock-off merchandise simply because it's time consuming to track down every story that is doing it and then bring a lawsuit aginst them, ensuring that only big companies with a vested interest in deterring knock offs will bring the lawsuits.

It's more like companies will "double dip" there will be genuine companies concerned about privacy and then their will be the the weasels who won't really give much of a damn and because of the weasels and the money to be made from smaller nimbler elements, it will still make privacy pretty impossible.

Take for example Wal-marts in store security camera's, I know for a fact they watch people steal small items and then change their policies to prevent theft, for instance in the electronics section people now tie off the bags with plastic and a security sticker so that people dont take small stuff after they've bought a genuine item out of the store. At it's heart though you simply cannot stop mass surveilance when the technology is so good, so well hidden, and/or so small and so hidden that you cannot notice it.

Re:Privacy really a winner? I smell damage control (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 6 years ago | (#20170375)

It is probably reasonable that companies will begin to push privacy in term of search engines simply because mining search data is not going to be major profit center.

At present the emerging profit center is truly personal data, emails and documents and spreadsheets. Users are putting all these on free services like Google with a thought of what how it will be used. Search data is small potatoes in comparison.

In fact if someone like MS, with money to spend and no need to make an immediate profit, developed a superior search engine and did not use the search query beyond the immediate display of ads along with the search, that site would might likely have a significant competitive advantage.

that's OK, the NSA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20165035)

That's OK, the NSA will record our searches on their way
to the search engines, so it doesn't make any difference
if the engines don't store as much as they used to :-/

Well, sort of... (2, Interesting)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165067)

The report is actually here: [cdt.org]

It looks like the most privacy-friendly, hands-down, is ask.com with their opt-in "ask eraser". A distant second is aol.com. But both of them share their data with Google, which appears to have the worst policy.

Everybody seems to hang onto most everything for more than a year; better than forever I guess, but a pretty big window for, say, subpoenas.

Re:Well, sort of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20171069)

In support of the this is all pretty much "crap," I give you the policy directly from ask.com's privacy policy. So, you can delete it, and it will look like it's deleted to you but we're going to keep it forever.

http://about.ask.com/en/docs/about/privacy.shtml [ask.com]

Can you review, edit, or delete the personally identifiable information that we have collected about you online that we maintain?

To review, revise or delete the personally identifiable information that we have collected about you online that we maintain, please log in to your profile and edit accordingly - Profile Page. However, please understand that although this information, once deleted, is not available on the Sites, that information may remain stored indefinitely in our backup and archival records.

The google. (3, Funny)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165123)

I just happen to be an internet user and I thought the google was the only search engine.

You call that a win? (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165151)

I call it progress. But it's not a win. Considering I today saw an invitation to have Google track my browsing history, I don't think we're even on the right track. Until search engines take proactive steps to prevent collection of individually-identifiable data, it won't be a win.

The fact is, we see something we don't like, we complain, and we induce a reactionary response. Reactionary responses are always deficient; They either reach too far or not far enough, and they're always after-the-fact.

Tag request (1)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165231)

Tag request: "yeahright"

What utter rubbish (1)

grolschie (610666) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165351)

There should be no user records to destroy in the first place!!!

Search-or vs. Search-ee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20165353)

Great! So they won't be able to track me if I stumble upon another site full of social security numbers! I love how secure the internet is these days!

interesting (1)

farkus888 (1103903) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165505)

linuxquestions, linuxforums, slashdot, beeradvocate, myspace, and flickr, in that order of occurrence make up my top ten google hits. The key is keeping my userid separate from my real life name. My real name, in quotes, does not return a single result that refers to me in the top ten. As long as I don't put the two together no one who doesn't personally know me would put the two together.

I also use the customize google firefox plugin to keep my secrets from google.

News to me (1)

Xgamer4 (970709) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165513)

No, seriously. This is news to me. Yeah, I can understand why everyone would want there search terms anonymous and not linked together, but then again most people seem to only really know about Google and all google has been trumpeting is more indexing as a new feature. All I've seen after I search with them is "New! View and manage your web history" in the upper-right-hand corner as if it's a feature everyone would want. And gmail. Your email all sitting there, archived potentially forever depending on just how honest Google is with there deletion policy, and this is touted as a feature. I still have yet to hear bad things about Google, or about people switching from Google to another search engine, except in this article. So what exactly is the truth behind this, then?

Re:News to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20167183)

And gmail. Your email all sitting there, archived potentially forever depending on just how honest Google is with there deletion policy...

Heh just subscribe to a few news letters and your signal to noise ratio is gonna "hide" your preferences.

There is a problem with too much information and it is up to us to provide as much information so the computing power needed to separate so to speak the wheat from the chaff is always one step ahead.
The more we do this the more money companies that want to compile have to spend, Therefore making the collection of information more costly that it is worth

scroogle? (1)

CyberGenesis (1064776) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165593)

http://www.scroogle.org/cgi-bin/scraper.htm [scroogle.org]

or

http://hidemyass.com/ [hidemyass.com] -> google.com

Re:scroogle? (1)

grege222 (995375) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165767)

What's to stop those sites from actually logging the information themselves? For the extra paranoid there is always tor [eff.org] for anonymizing your IP and CustomizeGoogle [mozilla.org] for anonymizing your cookie.

I'm sure they will delete your private info (1)

tomkost (944194) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165737)

After they have already sold it to another (sister) company who's name you don't even know of and who conveniently has no privacy policy. It's just too easy to obfuscate and continue with business as usual.

- no sig, really!

I'm skeptical... (1)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165949)

Looks like the last chink in the magical "Do No Evil" marketing armor has been patched. Breathe easy, sheeple!

Re:I'm skeptical... (1)

moxley (895517) | more than 6 years ago | (#20170917)

No, they've just taken a cue for the US Government and redefined what the meaning of the word "evil" is.

There's a search engine war? (2, Insightful)

DwarfGoanna (447841) | more than 6 years ago | (#20166369)

That's funny, because I didn't notice it at all.

all engines are evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20167163)

So, creating an account at /. will get me another hit at google? That's probably why there are so many anon. cowards out here.
And by the way, this ask.com seems to be the best according to the report. They remove user data within hours. But before removal takes place, they send the data to Google, again, according to the report. So actually it's the most evil engine: you let two companies study your behavior.

It is probably better to change to another search engine every now and then. Or perform person searches in Google, work related searches in altavista, and so on.

The myth continues (1)

krou (1027572) | more than 6 years ago | (#20168105)

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

No, no, no, no. Please don't propagate this myth. Seriously. Data Privacy is NOT Data Protection. That's corporate bull-crap to utterly change the meaning of data privacy (and, likewise, privacy). As Roger Clarke points out [anu.edu.au] :

Data privacy Individuals claim that data about themselves should not be automatically available to other individuals and organisations, and that, even where data is possessed by another party, the individual must be able to exercise a substantial degree of control over that data and its use. This is sometimes referred to as 'data privacy' and 'information privacy'.

[...]

The term 'privacy' is used by some people, particularly security specialists and computer scientists, and especially in the United States, to refer to the security of data against various risks, such as the risks of data being accessed or modified by unauthorised persons. In some cases, it is used even more restrictively, to refer only to the security of data during transmission.

These aspects are only a small fraction of the considerations within the field of 'information privacy'. More appropriate terms to use for those concepts are 'data security' and 'data transmission security'.

We don't trust each other (2)

athloi (1075845) | more than 6 years ago | (#20168651)

There may be no cure. As both Orwell and Huxley noted, selective enforcement of laws guarantees absolute control. Making fun things illegal makes normal people criminals. As a result, the best products are those which take away the risk of governmental or social interference with our lives. Did you hear us, corporate America? We want to hide out and not have to deal with our society. Since drugs are illegal, privacy is a good second best.

COTSE on Slashdot (1)

anasciiman (528060) | more than 6 years ago | (#20173383)

They won't let me get it in here any other way so I'll just do it here:

Cotse.Net Privacy Service [cotse.net]

Take that mods! Btw, this is where you mod me down for being off-topic or otherwise a bad /. citizen. :p

Hmm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20173949)

I read that as 'piracy winning search engine war.'

I, myself, love Craagle.

Sure, they'll do it... (1)

GodGell (897123) | more than 6 years ago | (#20186677)

Sure, they'll delete your personal information - but the company they've already sold it to won't.
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