Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Google privacy still has some way to go

Google has announced that it will anonymise the logs it keeps of search terms after 18-24 months. Previously, they kept records of users' searches indefinitely, linked to their IP address and cookies (thanks, Joris!).

Two questions:

  1. Why keep the data in identifiable form for 18-24 months? That is still 18-24 months longer than necessary.

  2. Will the anonymisation used break the link between queries from the same individual? If not, it will still be relatively easy to link queries back to users, as several journalists did when AOL released "anonymised" search logs last year.

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