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Search History Privacy  (View post)

Hashim [PersonRank 10]

Friday, April 29, 2005
17 years ago

Philip, I think you're missing the point. The scary thing about My Search is the infrastructure it creates for potewntial invasion of privacy. Let me break this down in points.

1. Google COULD have tracked you with the current services you use, but let's say they don't. It makes it that much harder for a Govt to get that pieced together info about you from Google, if you like many use a dynamic ip and clean out their cookies every so often.

2. My search DOES collect the history of your searches. Now if a Govt wants your info from Google, it's collected in one convenient, calendar navigated spot, with searchable capabilites. No piecing together of raw clues needed.

3. You're right about being concerned more about the Govt turning evil. However, an evil Govt with easy access/search of rich information is powerful

4. My govt, the USA admits that they had info about the 9/11 terrorist plot, but it was in scattered bits. Google's My Search is a bit connector.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

1. No, this is the same misunderstanding I talked about which you are now repeating. "My Search History" does NOT make it easier for Google to track your searches, nevermind dynamic IPs – all it needed to track your searches at Www.Google.com was a cookie set from Gmail.Google.com. Deleting cookies will result in the exact same as before – your search is then private until you login next time, be it Gmail or My Search History. In fact, My Search History only makes it easier for YOU to track your searches. Google is only making public the data they could have stored before (we don't know if they did).

2. No. See point 1. Nothing so far could have stopped Google to have the same calendar internally, years before "My Search History" went public – and internal Google data is what the Government, in "emergency" case, would access anyway. My Search History doesn't make this harder or easier, it may only publicly visualize how easy it was all the time already. Obviously, that's what triggers the misunderstanding.

3. Sure, you are right. Google exposes an extra-risk. This should make it even more important we have the right government. And I didn't even touch issues of global scale (different governments with different privacy demands or different "evil" politicians, possibly).

4. See 1 and 2... My Search History doesn't change ANYTHING except it gives yet another increased chance for people wanting to login somewhere. Gmail and other services exposed the exact same technical potential as My Search History does now.

Ale [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

"Privacy Policy for My Search History

   * You must sign up for a Google Account to use this service.

>> All it takes is to be signed in only one Google service.

   * In order to display your search history, My Search History saves information about your activity on Google, including your search queries, the results you click on, and the date and time of your searches. This information is stored with your account information so that you can access it with your username and password.

>> Matching a user name with its queries.

   * You can delete information from My Search History, and it will be removed from the service and no longer available to you.

>> It's actually hard to delete ALL your queries, you will have to do it page after page.

However, as is common practice in the industry, and as outlined in the Google Privacy Policy, Google maintains a separate logs system for auditing purposes and to help us improve the quality of our services for users.

>> It will stay in Google database forever.

   * Google will not sell or otherwise provide this information to any third parties, except as described in our main Google Privacy Policy."

>> It gives a legal for Google to use this information. Of course this information will be given to Gov if required by law.

Basically My Search History now gives Google a legal right to collect and use individuals queries. If I would be working at Google I would have a legal right to read say George W. Bush's queries. The worst thing about this service is the fact that you have to opt out of it in order not to use it. Once you sign in say Gmail, you are signed in for ALL other google services including My Search History. You have to "pause" (notice the use of the world pause not "stop") my search in order to opt out. I think it's EVIL because ignorant people or not careful people will have their queries collected against their wil, enabling Google to slowly craft their electronic profiles.

Caleb [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

But its not default on, you have to actually go to google labs and click the link and enable it, and you are reminded of its logging by the presence of your user name in the upper right. Plus, opting out of it would just stop adding searches to the external database, not the internal one.

toAshamedToTell [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

WARNING. WAY OT!!

re: second to last paragraph

you shouldn't ever use "pubic WHOIS information" as it might return fuzzy data...

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

Thanks ToAshamedToTell, this is corrected :)

Ale [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

"But its not default on, you have to actually go to google labs and click the link and enable it"

>> Yes I agree but once you enable it you are screwed. Each time you log in another Google service you will be logged in ALL other Google services you have previsouly enabled, including my search history.

"and you are reminded of its logging by the presence of your user name in the upper right."

>> Actually no. It will collect all your queries from any Google search front end. This includes deskbar, firefox lucky search, etc.. In firefox feeling lucky you never get to see you are actually logged in. You might be running Gmail notifier and at the same time do a firefox feeling lucky search.

"Plus, opting out of it would just stop adding searches to the external database, not the internal one."

>> Yes good point. In this case Google looses its legal right to put a name on these queries. By using my search history you are aggreeing that Google matches your name to your queries. You are almost giving away to Google the power to read your mind... We need to be carefull what we mean by opting out. So far it seems that all we can do is "pause" my search history. How can I say to fully stop the service? What does it mean to "pause" the process?

Ale [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

"How can I say to fully stop the service? What does it mean to "pause" the process?"

Go to your Google account and delete the service.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

"By using my search history you are aggreeing that Google matches your name to your queries."

Ale, where does it say in e.g. Gmail or Google Groups that Google won't do the same already?

Manic [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

You don't need to opt out, you have to opt in..

" My Search History requires you to actively opt-in to use the service. That means, if you want to use Google without using My Search History, just continue to use Google like you do today. If you would like to use My Search History, first you must sign up to enable the service, and then sign in to your Google Account in order to view and collect your history. When you are signed in, My Search History saves information about your activity on Google, including your search queries, the results that you click on, and the date and time of your searches. If you aren't signed in, this information won't be added to your My Search History."

If people are so concerned about their privacy online then they should have the sense to ensure their privacy. Not using a real name, deleting then anonymizing google's cookie, using proxies, etc..

Probably won't be long before Microsoft unveils their own version, wonder if it will support importing index.dat..

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