Sunday, February 05, 2006

Your Search History

Whether you're logged into Google or not, the search company keeps track of every search you make. Your IP address is recorded. This information remains in the hands of Google and their search engine brethren such as Yahoo! and MSN. This information can be subpoenaed by a court. What does your searches reveal about you? You'd be quite surprised. Without even aggregating your searches to determine patterns, just your plain searches could potentially cost you.

ZDNet did a survey of Google, Yahoo!, MSN and AOL -- and what they found was startling to say the least. Of the four heavy weights, Google was the least open about what it does, and the least conciliatory with respect to recognizing privacy issues. On the other hand, the recent US Justice Department subpoena for search data from the four garnered cooperation from Yahoo!, MSN and AOL. Google was the lone standout in refusing to hand over any search data to the government.

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