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Will Privacy Sell?

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the one-of-the-few-things dept.

Privacy 82

DeeQ writes "Ask.com is betting that it will. The search engine is working on a service called AskEraser that will attempt to obscure the searches a user enters into the site. 'Some privacy experts doubt that concerns about privacy are significant enough to turn a feature like AskEraser into a major selling point for Ask.com. The search engine accounted for 4.7 percent of all searches conducted in the United States in October, according to comScore, which ranks Internet traffic. By comparison, Google accounted for 58.5 percent, Yahoo for 22.9 percent and Microsoft for 9.7 percent.'" We first discussed this project back in July.

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First fart! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21658595)

nigger

Re:First fart! (1)

Beastmouth (1144447) | more than 6 years ago | (#21660395)

Clearly, privacy is still valuable to some morons, at least!

results are more important (5, Funny)

syrinx (106469) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658627)

If I can't find what I'm looking for, I don't care if nobody knows about it.

Heck, I can put up a search engine that I guarantee will not record anything you search for. Also, every result will be the "badger badger mushroom" song.

Re:results are more important (3, Funny)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658727)

And it will still produce better results than Ask, with one query that actually gets useful results!

Re:results are more important (1)

xENoLocO (773565) | more than 6 years ago | (#21663901)

The algorithm is never wrong.

lol.

The sad thing is, I'm cheering them on... I want them to get it right.

Re:results are more important (1)

ScrawnyPaleGuy (871759) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658729)

Where do I sign up?!?

Re:results are more important (3, Informative)

Odiumjunkie (926074) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658799)

> If I can't find what I'm looking for, I don't care if nobody knows about it.

Agreed. Results are paramount.

I'd rather choose my favourite search engine based on technical merit, then take steps to protect my privacy myself. It means I get the satisfaction of not having to rely on hidden propriety code on someone else's server for my privacy.

To get around the Google big-bad-data-retention, I find that Firefox [mozilla-europe.org] + CookieCuller [mozdev.org] + FoxyProxy [mozdev.org] + TOR [torproject.org] works pretty well.

Re:results are more important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21666881)

I tried doing just this today - though on a Google in a country, not google.com. It told me it thought I looked like a bot, and refused to do the search!

Re:results are more important (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667427)

Have you looked at your reflection lately? Perhaps it is true that you do resemble a bot.

Re:results are more important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21669335)

I'd add CustomizeGoogle - and turn off sending urchin cookies to Google, and https://ssl.scroogle.com/ [scroogle.com] which is a anonymizing proxy for google.

Of course, if I were really serious about avoiding online web tracking, I'd be blocking Google Ads, which seem to be appear everywhere, and are just another request back to the mothership with my IP address.

Google do ads right, and it's their revenue stream, so I tend to draw the line there.

Re:results are more important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21667837)

Depends if you're searching for
1) Porn
2) How to kill your wife (because she doesn't like you watching porn)
3) How to embezzle millions (to pay for your porn)

Sure (3, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658629)

Sure it will. I was just reading Google News, and saw this story as the top Sci/Tech headline, and thought "Hey, I forgot about ask.com. Maybe I'll run a few searches through them and see how it goes."

So whether or not the new privacy policy attracts people directly, the publicity will bring them hits for sure. Maybe even a few converts.

Dan East

Re:Sure (2, Informative)

Jaseoldboss (650728) | more than 6 years ago | (#21661619)

"Hey, I forgot about ask.com. Maybe I'll run a few searches through them and see how it goes."

You go ahead, I've blocked them from my entire network on account of their connection with MyWebSearch, SmileyCentral and other spyware.

The only way to make your searches private is to do it yourself. Set the option "Accept Cookies from sites: Until I close Firefox". Then, don't forget about those Flash SOL cookies that all those video ads track you with - Add:

RMDIR "%APPDATA%\Macromedia" /S /Q

to a batch file in "Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup".

Re:Sure (1)

vlk (775733) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667027)

Right, except... from TFA:

But underscoring how difficult it is to completely erase ones digital footprints, the information typed by users of AskEraser into Ask.com will not disappear completely. Ask.com relies on Google to deliver many of the ads that appear next to its search results. Under an agreement between the two companies, Ask.com will continue to pass query information on to Google. Mr. Leeds acknowledged that AskEraser cannot promise complete anonymity, but said it would greatly increase privacy protections for users who want them, as Google is contractually constrained in what it can do with that information. A Google spokesman said the company uses the information to place relevant ads and to fight certain online scams.

Privacy Invasion Repeller for Sale! (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658673)

Sure, it looks like an ordinary rock, but for the low, low price of $100, you can buy your own Privacy Invasion Repeller! This handy little thing will keep all search engines from recording your searches, prevent you from being stalked in public, and can even be used for tenderizing meat!

I have just as much evidence that my Privacy Invasion Repeller works as Ask can produce for their so-called privacy protection, but mine covers every search engine ever made!

Re:Privacy Invasion Repeller for Sale! (2, Funny)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658879)

Thats probably patented already. Sorry buddy.

Re:Privacy Invasion Repeller for Sale! (1)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 6 years ago | (#21661103)

The advantage of your rock is that its hard to imagine a set of circumstances where it might sell my personal data to spammers. Or to turn it over to various data mining spooks. Or burn everyone's data to an unencrypted cd and "accidentally" mail it to the wrong address. Or go bust and have its data bought by a company not that declines to honour agreements made by Ask.com. Or just plain lie about its privacy policy.

Not that I plan in investing in your scheme, either. But if I had to choose one, the rock would be looking very appealing.

What we really need... (2, Funny)

RandoX (828285) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658683)

...is a service that wipes my information out of Google. Get rid of my Tijuana pictures from Google Image Search.

Re:What we really need... (1)

Odiumjunkie (926074) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658885)

> ...is a service that wipes my information out of Google.

Well, what I really need is a service that gives me billions of dollars for sitting on my ass, makes me irresistable to lithe young women, ends world hunger and punches Bill O'Reilley in the face every six seconds.

See? I can suggest lots of cool things if we disregard logic and common sense.

Re:What we really need... (2, Funny)

RandoX (828285) | more than 6 years ago | (#21659251)

Is that you, mom?

Re:What we really need... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21693626)

I already told you, what happened with you, the donkey, and the whores is now public record. I own the pictures, because I shot them. Just because you were in them, you have no rights, especially since you were right under the Tijuana Arch, in mid day, with the damned wandering bands playing. :)

I'd rather have a decent privacy law (4, Insightful)

schwaang (667808) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658689)

Because in most situations in life you can't apply market pressure in favor of privacy. Your data is being sold to data brokers like Choice Point and Axciom, and after that you don't know who looks at it, why, or when.

Privacy? No way. (2, Insightful)

dippitydoo (1134915) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658701)

I'm not sure that anything could be private anymore. Sure, you use Ask.com to stay Private, while your ISP will probably allow the government to look at it anyways. Privacy? I see no privacy here, Move along.

Re:Privacy? No way. (1)

doas777 (1138627) | more than 6 years ago | (#21662603)

I'm really hoping that if enough Americans show a similar interest in online privacy, that the policics and economics will work themselves out. remember, the judicial test to determine if an action can be considered private involves the person maintaining a reasonable opinion that the action is private, and whether society at large agrees that similar acts are reasonably considered private.

If i use a web service specifically because it advertises privacy (even if thats not really the case; as long as I don't know about it),I can make an arguement that the action is made with a reasonable expectation of privacy, extending me constitutional protections.

it's all i can do, so I'm going to give Ask a try.

Re:Privacy? No way. (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21663159)

But it's not private.. your data is tracked all over the place, and capable of being tracked a lot more than it is - every router and switch your packets travel across is a possible logging point.

You *never* have an expectaion of privacy on the web, unless you encrypt everything.. and even then you're trusting that the other end isn't going to sell your data anyway (probably true for a bank, but joe random internet site would sell it in a heartbeat).

Re:Privacy? No way. (1)

doas777 (1138627) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666091)

You can't tell people that. if they know it, then they lose that right. I know, it's stupid, but that was exactly the argument the that the bush admin presented to the 6th circuit fed court, on the topic of online tracking. they argued that since many people work at places with tracking policies, so they no longer can expect it to be private.

now me, I know that things are trackable, but I don't believe that it is impossible to obtain privacy in a crowd as it were. I try to keep my footprint as average as possible (well except /.), and I do expect that no one will tap my communications, attempt reconnaissance on my pc, or subpoena my ISP for a copy of my mailbox. I don't think that that is unreasonable.
 

Re:Privacy? No way. (1)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666393)

You can't tell people that. if they know it, then they lose that right.
So in other words. people only lose rights if they believe that they no longer have them, but if they can be convinced that those rights haven't been taken away yet, then they do have them. I believe that's a textbook definition of deception.

Re:Privacy? No way. (1)

doas777 (1138627) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674953)

yep. the supreme courts test is rather stupid, but lacking clear privacy regulations, the matter is subjective, and varies between people and circumstances. thus the only test is the belief of the person, and of society's agreement (or lack thereof).

In a heartbeat. (1)

phorest (877315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658707)

I'll be watching this and hopefully it's going work as advertised.

Search engine polling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21658759)

The numbers they cite on search don't look right to me. From various access logs the figures are more like:

Google = 91%, Yahoo and Live = 2% each, Ask = whopping .7%

Want to keep your internet activities private? (2, Informative)

RandoX (828285) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658775)

Forget the delete cookies/history/temp files routine. Get Sandboxie [sandboxie.com] .

Not just for browsers either.

Re:Want to keep your internet activities private? (2, Informative)

Odiumjunkie (926074) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658983)

> Forget the delete cookies/history/temp files routine. Get Sandboxie.

That program isn't really relevent to what's being discussed here. Running programs in a sandbox or under a VM doesn't prevent Google storing data about you on their servers. The only relevent thing it might do is prevent persistant cookies between browsing sessions, but you're better off just blocking cookies from search engines in the first place. Sandboxing doesn't do anything to prevent Google storing your search terms tagged with your IP.

Re:Want to keep your internet activities private? (1)

RandoX (828285) | more than 6 years ago | (#21659205)

Are you following me?

Re:Want to keep your internet activities private? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21660071)

Now, now, boys. Play nice in the sandbox.

Re:Want to keep your internet activities private? (1)

DarkWicked (988343) | more than 6 years ago | (#21660301)

No linux version...

You have to accept cookies (3, Informative)

Aram Fingal (576822) | more than 6 years ago | (#21658915)

I just tried it out and found that you have to accept cookies from ask.com for the askEraser feature to stick. That's not surprising but it seems that you have to give up one privacy measure to get another.

Re:You have to accept cookies (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21659637)

The cookie is reasonably innocuous, though.
Name: askeraser
Content: "Tue 11 Dec 2007 18:10:15 UTC"

That date might be unique enough to track you, but on the other hand, it's unlikely to be more unique than your IP address, and you can probably write a script to randomize it within your cookies.txt every so often.

Add yourself to Terrorit List (2, Insightful)

natoochtoniket (763630) | more than 6 years ago | (#21659047)

There really is a good reason to offer an anonymous search tool. Anyone who uses it is automatically suspect. Doesn't matter what you used it for. The fact that you did use it, at all, makes you a suspect. If we can convince all of our domestic terrorists to register themselves by using this tool, we can solve the terrorism problem.

Of course, in a perfect world, the crooked politicians will also use the same tool. It would take some serious effort to separate the politicians from the regular terrorists. But, just perhaps, we could solve both problems at once.

;-)

Re:Add yourself to Terrorit List (1)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666407)

Or we could just go with the original assumption and say that all crooked politicians are terrorists.

the fact is... (1)

Churla (936633) | more than 6 years ago | (#21659097)

They're the smallest player on the field right now of the "big" engines.

This means to move up they have to differentiate themselves enough to get people to try them and hopefully stick with them. The only people who benefit from propagating "business as usual" are the googles/yahoos.

Simple solution: TOR (2, Interesting)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#21659139)

As long as you're only searching the web and not clicking on the results, nobody will find out what YOU searched for if you used Onion routing like TOR.

Now the hard stuff is making TOR work ONLY for Google and search sites.

Re:Simple solution: TOR (2, Informative)

Odiumjunkie (926074) | more than 6 years ago | (#21659219)

> Now the hard stuff is making TOR work ONLY for Google and search sites.

No it's not. You can specify per-domain proxies with FoxyProxy, as I pointed out above [slashdot.org] .

Re:Simple solution: TOR (1)

Janos421 (1136335) | more than 6 years ago | (#21659441)

Well TOR and other proxy actually works, but they are not compliant with any kind of personalized search, so you have to make a choice...
Furthermore, these solutions will be useless for Phone using android. If Google can get your queries at the OS level, proxy won't bring any kind of privacy.

Re:Simple solution: TOR (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21660363)

Tor is not enough for multiple reasons. I have been working on a much detailed solution [yale.edu] that uses Tor but takes care of the issues on other levels too. It also addresses ONLY Google searches, so you can do your other Web browsing Tor-free.

Re:Simple solution: TOR (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 6 years ago | (#21662099)

What about the Google cookie?

Assuming you've taken logical precautions about the content of your searches, for example not ego-surfing in the middle of the searches you wanted to keep private.

NO! And you know why? (3)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#21659171)

Because we should get privacy FOR FREE BY DEFAULT!

Re:NO! And you know why? (1)

Fastolfe (1470) | more than 6 years ago | (#21660557)

So it should be illegal for a business to disclose anything it learns about you to anyone else? What about your mere presence in the store? What about shielding your presence from other customers? How would you accomplish that? What if the store owner was a family member? Should it be illegal for them to tell another family member you were there? Should it be illegal for them to not invite you to their next party because of what they learned? What about selling something on Craigslist? Should it be illegal for you to talk about the guy that bought your old microwave?

Interactions with others will always be a gray area. Your total, free, ubiquitous privacy ideal is impractical. Market forces (where companies compete based on their willingness to accommodate your desire for privacy) seem like a good approach. There's no law that says you have to use these services, or that you can't work through an intermediary. Maybe some day we can do everything via a fully-anonymized Internet connection and you'll never have to see another person's face and you'll never have to worry about anything you do being tracked back to you. While that'd be great for "privacy", I'm not so sure I like that vision.

Re:NO! And you know why? (1)

jdjbuffalo (318589) | more than 6 years ago | (#21663949)

What you're talking about it quite a bit different than a lot of the problems that exist in the marketplace today. My biggest issue is with companies that buy and aggregate data about you and you have no choice as to what information they have on you and you can't get off their lists.

Also, the government buys information from these companies as an affront to the supremely important legal barriers that are put in place to protect peoples privacy (Fourth Amendment). They can just simply say here's 100 bucks, now give me all the details on "Joe Blow". These are the kinds of issues that the founders were concerned about in their days. They certainly didn't foresee everything we would be able to do in their times but they expected that if they put broad language detailing what kinds rights the government wasn't to infringe upon, expect upon probable cause of wrong doing, that the people would be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures (Privacy). If we simply had the Judicial system enforcing the letter and spirit of the supreme law of the land then we wouldn't be in this mess in the first place.

Re:NO! And you know why? (1)

Fastolfe (1470) | more than 6 years ago | (#21664343)

If you do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy, it's unreasonable to expect that it will be treated so. Why should company A be allowed to obtain non-private information from company B, but not the government? You do have a choice: don't do business with companies that aggregate (non-private!) data about you. I realize that your life may be difficult by exercising that choice, but you do have that option.

You could change the problem somewhat, and start claiming that your shopping history is, legally, "private" information that everyone should, starting now, be obligated to protect, but then you have to deal with all of those gray areas I suggested in my earlier post. Until you make it impossible or illegal for someone to follow you around while you're in public and keep tabs on the things you buy, it doesn't seem very useful to tell businesses they can't collect precisely the same information.

The aggregation problem has a little more merit, but at its heart, it's just an extension of the collection problem and it doesn't seem useful to try to restrict aggregation when the aggregators could just become better collectors.

Re:NO! And you know why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21664565)

If you do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy

I don't think that means what you think it means. I certainly don't think it means what the supreme court has ruled it means (and neither do stalking laws that most certainly do indicate that people expect a certain level of privacy in public and harassed using publicly available information like phone numbers).

don't do business with companies that aggregate (non-private!) data about you.

Not everything can be solved by the market. I've never used ChoicePoint and will probably never in my life have a reason to use them or one of their competitors. I doubt they care if I "boycott" them because they collect my information then sell it to criminals that successfully scam them.

it doesn't seem useful to try to restrict aggregation

The government thinks its useful when you're aggregating things like power line maps or such.

It's the double standards that bug me, really.

Re:NO! And you know why? (1)

jdjbuffalo (318589) | more than 6 years ago | (#21664579)

In general, I don't have a problem with individual companies collecting information on me*. But the big disconnect is that most/all sell or share this information with unknown third parties. These third parties may then sell that information to others and before you know it everyone who wants that information that was originally collected is now available upon request. There is no getting around this issue in our society unless you're willing to extricate yourself from society (live up in the mountains, 10 miles away from anyone else). This is not viable option for 99.9% of society and therefore a moot point.

*Exceptions do directly relate to this article, so they are fair game. I have no problem with Google recording what you searched but do have a problem with them tying it to my IP address. General aggregate data on your customers is reasonable to know how they are using you're service but it crosses the line when it ties it to you specifically.

Re:NO! And you know why? (1)

General Wesc (59919) | more than 6 years ago | (#21664119)

Option 0: Don't use a search engine, do get privacy. Privacy for free, by default.

Option 1: In exchange for surrendering some privacy, you get to use a quality search engine only marginally annoying ads.

Nothing is free. When a car dealership provides you with oil changes for life, the cost is built into the price. The only difference is what you perceive to be the baseline price (and, yes, the default). If you don't like the idea of being charged for privacy, think of it as not being paid for giving up your privacy. They're the same thing.

cake + eating it (4, Informative)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21659189)

If you're sufficiently annoyed at Google that you actually want to punish them for their query retention policy, I recommend the TrackMeNot [nyu.edu] Firefox extension by Daniel C. Howe, Helen Nissenbaum. It automatically submits a false query to Google x times per minute, obscuring your real queries within a torrent of crap.

Re:cake + eating it (1)

Janos421 (1136335) | more than 6 years ago | (#21659695)

I'm making a plug-in like TackMeNot called SquiggleSR (http://squigglesr.free.fr). In addition to issuing queries, it also clicks on results and ads. I think it points out a serious problem of the pay-per-click economical approach.

Moreover I'm trying to make more coherent queries (using keywrods extracted from RSS flows). See the site for more details and do not hesitate to post comments.

Re:cake + eating it (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21661099)

I don't like the idea of automatically clicking ads. I manage some AdWords campaigns for my company and a single click costs us as much as $15. If you're prepared to foot the bill the go ahead and click all you like, but as is you risk costing a lot of money to a lot of small businesses.

Re:cake + eating it (1)

Janos421 (1136335) | more than 6 years ago | (#21661603)

Sorry, did'nt know average click price was that expensive. I knew some clicks were actually very expensive but (mesotholomia for instance), but I avoid them. Options is removed from the add-on anyway, now only click on non-commercial results are possible. But the point is that... well Google will now that when you click on ads, it's for real...
Moreover, I wanted to point out that pay-per-click can't hold... 15$, how could that be that expensive. Other comments ?

Re:cake + eating it (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21661899)

Google's AdWords system is pretty interesting. Advertisers can choose the most they're willing to spend on a single click, and the most they're willing to spend per day and per campaign. Google shows the ads on search engine results pages (SERPs) as well as on related websites that use AdSense. Ads that are viewed but not clicked don't cost a penny, but ads that are clicked cost up to the amount specified per click.

You don't necessarily pay as much as the maximum you specify. AdWords works like an auction - you bid on keywords and whoever pays the most is placed at the top of the page. If you specify $20 as the maximum click price and the next highest bidder specifies $10 then you will probably only pay $10.10 or so and still get to the top.

Click fraud is a huge issue since webmasters using AdSense are tempted to click their own ads to make money, but Google has some crafty ways to filter these clicks out. There's no telling whether a program like yours would be caught or not but it still runs the risk of costing someone a lot of money for nothing. In my opinion if you hate ads you should use something like AdBlock Plus [adblockplus.org] to passively hide them instead of actively clicking them.

Re:cake + eating it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21661693)

Clicking ads like that is liable to get yourself lawyered to fuck. Have fun in court.

Re:cake + eating it (1)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 6 years ago | (#21662727)

I think it points out a serious problem of the pay-per-click economical approach.


It's called "clickfraud", it's possibly illegal, certainly against the Google terms of service, and a well-known problem.

Re:cake + eating it (1)

Janos421 (1136335) | more than 6 years ago | (#21668825)

Oups, didn't know it was that serious, I removed the program until I can fix this.

What is the price of privacy? (1)

Janos421 (1136335) | more than 6 years ago | (#21659319)

As I already mentioned, I'm developing a privacy enforcement plug-in which generates false queries (it's quite like TrackMeNot, but with more coherent and personalized queries see http://squigglesr.free.fr/ [squigglesr.free.fr] for details).

As my plug-in click also on ads, it may cost money to Google since advertiser won't be happy to be charged for simulated click. So, if tomorrow Google asks you to pay the bill for your privacy, how much are you willing to pay?

I'm not sure we'll agree to pay for all the services if they had to be paid with dollars... if we are not even ready to pay just by switching search engine.

_REAL_ privacy will. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21659429)

Unfortunately, every single link in the ask.com search results has an onmousedown attribute of the form "return fp(this,{en:'te',io:'0',b:'alg',tp:'d',ec:'10'},'true',0)". I haven't bothered digging through their labyrinthine javascript files to figure out what it does, but I'll give you better than even odds that it tracks which links I clicked on. Coupled with them still storing my searches ("When AskEraser is enabled, your search activity will be deleted from Ask.com servers within a number of hours." and "Even when Ask Eraser is enabled, we may store your search activity data if so requested by law enforcement or legal authority pursuant to due process. In such case, we will retain your search data even if AskEraser appears to be turned on."), that means that what they're doing is just now good enough for me to consider switching. (Especially since their pages are horribly overweight, loading quite sluggishly for search engine standards.)

Still, kudos for the initiative!

Firefox + Adaptive Referer Remover (1)

elsJake (1129889) | more than 6 years ago | (#21659529)

Just use the adaptive referer remover with firefox and you're set.

Re:Firefox + Adaptive Referer Remover (1)

elsJake (1129889) | more than 6 years ago | (#21659651)

+Tor and whatever sandboxing method , this way even the site you were searching for doesn't know how you got there. This way even statistical counters don't have a clue if you searched for something or just entered the url.

Ask.com the spyware makers ? aka IAC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21659815)

yeah we all know about Ask.com's privacy initatives

http://www.benedelman.org/spyware/ask-toolbars/ [benedelman.org]
http://blogs.zdnet.com/Spyware/?p=858 [zdnet.com]
http://www.benedelman.org/news/050205-1.html [benedelman.org]
http://vil.nai.com/vil/content/v_131461.htm [nai.com]
http://research.sunbelt-software.com/threatdisplay.aspx?threatid=14137 [sunbelt-software.com]
http://www.siteadvisor.com/sites/ask.com [siteadvisor.com]

and their seedy domains that target children

cursormania.com
funbuddyicons.com
funwebproducts.com
historyswatter.com
myfuncards.com
mymailnotifier.com
mymailstationery.com
mymailsignature.com
mymailstamp.com
mywebsearch.com
popswatter.com
popularscreensavers.com
smileycentral.com
zwinky.com

ask.com are nothing but lying, deceptive scumbags, they deserve every lawsuit and fine they get

Re:Ask.com the spyware makers ? aka IAC (1)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 6 years ago | (#21660299)

But do they target just your children, or your wife too?

comScore who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21660081)

How the heck does comScore count all the searches in the Nation?!!?!?!?#Q$%@!#$%

Privacy matters with Google aside, how the freakin heck is comScore getting all searches counted out at each search engine? Are they sending info to Comscore, if so what info? Is there ping info beging sent, if so what's in that info?

It sold me ... (1)

enselsharon (968932) | more than 6 years ago | (#21660277)

I pay a (roughly) 20% premium price per gigabyte per month to have my offsite backups with a provider that gives me these things:

rsync.net corporate philosophy [rsync.net]

rsync.net Warrant Canary [rsync.net]

Not only do I pay a small premium for this stance on their part, but I rave about thier product and support all the time. This business model _does sell_ and it breeds _more sales over time_. Business owners need to know this, and we as consumers need to vote with our dollars to ensure that they do.

Maybe a trap, but it may send a message (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 6 years ago | (#21660353)

Like they say, if using this tool marks you as a torren^H^H^H^H^Herrorist, it is useless, but if enough people used this service it could send a message to Google/Yahoo.

Stil tor is the only real option.

Just don't log it! (1)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 6 years ago | (#21660531)

Voila! Problem solved. When a user submits a search, don't log it. Privacy maintained. This will, of course, make gathering statistics a tad difficult since nothing will be logged.

Re:Just don't log it! (1)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 6 years ago | (#21661165)

How about logging JUST the search term? There's nothing wrong with google going "oh yeah, paris hilton was our #1 search". There's a problem with logging that "john doe in little rock, arkansas, zip code 23045, address 1234 main street; searched for 'paris hilton', 'britney spears', 'naked women', 'tennessee titans', 'george bush'."

Re:Just don't log it! (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 6 years ago | (#21661853)

... because that doesn't help you build a better search engine? Which data is more useful to you when you're trying to return good results to users:

1) This search query was used 10 times, link a was clicked 5 times, and link b was clicked 5 times.
2) This search query was used 10 times, but 9 of those 10 times, people from the user's region really wanted to narrow down the serach query with this keyword (so suggest that to them), and when THAT query was performed, people with that users demographics were 85% more likely to click link b rather than link a (so rearrange the results).

There's a good reason Google has better results than its competitors.

Of course privacy sells! (5, Funny)

SleepyHappyDoc (813919) | more than 6 years ago | (#21660613)

Chances are, your privacy is being sold right now.

It'll make a "HUGE" difference (1)

alexhmit01 (104757) | more than 6 years ago | (#21661313)

Ask.com right now sits on 4.7% of the Internet queries. If 1% of the population are "very concerned about privacy" and half of them switch their searches, that would bring them from 4.7% to 5.2%. That wouldn't challenge Google, but it would increase Ask.com's search base by 10%. A 10% revenue growth COULD bring them an extra 20%-30% profits given how high their fixed costs are as a percentage of total costs.

Ask.com doesn't have to beat Google, just increase their profits at a greater rate than their expected return on capital.

Delete/Block this? (1)

emeraldcity (1105793) | more than 6 years ago | (#21661809)

like with a phone call, do you just type "*67" into your search and ...poof the record is blocked/gone!? Then maybe you hit "*69" and pull up all the other searchers that didn't "*67" them?:)

I need help. (1)

achenaar (934663) | more than 6 years ago | (#21661815)

There's this puzzle I can't finish.
The clue is "_______ Ask.com and the horse they rode in on."
But I just can't get it. Maybe I'll search online for the answer...

How much of Microsoft ... (1)

bensode (203634) | more than 6 years ago | (#21662411)

By comparison, Google accounted for 58.5 percent, Yahoo for 22.9 percent and Microsoft for 9.7 percent.'"


And how much of the Microsoft 9.7% is because of every default installation of Windows where starting IE forces you to Microsoft ?

Re:How much of Microsoft ... (1)

don'tyellatme (837496) | more than 6 years ago | (#21663775)

and how much of google's is because of the default to google in firefox's search box and i'm feeling lucky in the location box?

Re:How much of Microsoft ... (1)

bensode (203634) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667013)

Yeah ... and how much marketshare does Firefox have over IE? Oh wait ... it isn't even close.

Re:How much of Microsoft ... (1)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#21664745)

Apparently 0% because nobody force you to grammar.

Not for Sell! (1)

tixie (960089) | more than 6 years ago | (#21662887)

If you are only talking about "sell", I would say that privacy will never sell, because it is not for sale.

Oh Look! It's a Dupe. (1)

Propaganda13 (312548) | more than 6 years ago | (#21692076)

Look at the article posted by Zonk on Tuesday http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/11/technology/11ask.html?em&ex=1197522000&en=f58e933b4945d926&ei=5087%0A [nytimes.com]

"But underscoring how difficult it is to completely erase one's digital footprints, the information typed by users of AskEraser into Ask.com will not disappear completely. Ask.com relies on Google to deliver many of the ads that appear next to its search results. Under an agreement between the two companies, Ask.com will continue to pass query information on to Google. Mr. Leeds acknowledged that AskEraser cannot promise complete anonymity, but said it would greatly increase privacy protections for users who want them, as Google is contractually constrained in what it can do with that information. A Google spokesman said the company uses the information to place relevant ads and to fight certain online scams."

And I didn't have to click past a full page ad on Tuesday.

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