Search engine privacy


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Are you aware of how much info you leave online and how much of it can be retrieved using search engines?

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Search engine privacy

  1. Search: The tug of war between value for users and the need for privacy <ul><li>Per Koch, Pandia, Oslo, Norway </li></ul><ul><li>IPTS Workshop: Socio-Economic Challenges of Search </li></ul><ul><li>Seville Sept 29-30 2008 </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  2. User data is very useful <ul><li>Data delivered by the individual searcher and user can be used to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Improve the relevance of search results (personalization) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Improve the targeting of ads (revenue) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify phishers and malware distributors </li></ul></ul>
  3. Search is just a part of a bigger picture <ul><li>Tremendous increase in storage capabilities and processing power </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Free storage in the cloud </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Software as a Service </li></ul></ul><ul><li>New technologies that lets search engines and users combine data </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Search </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SaaS (including online email) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social Web </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mash-ups </li></ul></ul>
  4. More material is becoming available <ul><li>Content production in the Social Web </li></ul><ul><li>Historical Archives </li></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g the WayBack Machine and cached files </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Scanned material </li></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. Google Books and Google Scholar </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Hidden Web </li></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. search engines filling out search forms </li></ul></ul>
  5. Making more material findable <ul><li>Face and object recognition (images and video) </li></ul><ul><li>Audio content analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Geo-tagging and GPS </li></ul><ul><li>Amalgamation of personal information from various social sites (e.g. Spokeo) </li></ul><ul><li>(Less likely: Semantic Web) </li></ul>
  6. Approaching critical mass <ul><li>Basic principle in espionage: Even unclassified information is useful information, if you combine it in an intelligent way. </li></ul><ul><li>Easy combination of data sources makes data mining and personal profiling easy. </li></ul>
  7. “ Let’s google him!” <ul><ul><li>Lawyers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Private investigators </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Insurance companies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Employers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Police </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Foreign intelligence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Phishers and crackers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sexual predators </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Burglars and identity thieves </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Friends and family </li></ul></ul>
  8. Lack of data awareness <ul><li>People are too liberal in publishing information about themselves on social networks, not thinking about who might take advantage of it. </li></ul><ul><li>More public information published in the name of transparency. </li></ul><ul><li>Enormous amounts of geo-tagged images, satellite photos and video combined with face recognition will make it possible to track the whereabouts of individuals. </li></ul>Google Maps street view of Seville, Spain
  9. Questioning the safety of data storage <ul><li>Search company secutiry failure </li></ul><ul><ul><li>AOL posting search logs 2006 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Possible cracker attacks against online search data and file storage </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Sarah Palin Yahoo! email hack 2008 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Public authorities demanding access post 9/11 </li></ul><ul><li>EU Article 29 Data Protection Working Party </li></ul>
  10. Building trust <ul><li>A public relation backlash may stifle innovation </li></ul><ul><li>Search engine must make privacy policies transparent and visible </li></ul><ul><li>Search engine must help searchers opt out of data gathering </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Secret surfing, deleting cookies, deleting IP info etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Search engines should implement further anonymisation to avoid personal identification </li></ul>
  11. We need more than legal jargon <ul><li>Displaying the privacy policy and asking for consent is not enough </li></ul><ul><ul><li>People do not understand the implications of the technology available </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People automatically click OK on any legal yadayada they may encounter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The search engines should be proactive as regards info on proper “Web Hygiene” </li></ul></ul>
  12. Need for an independent international organisation? <ul><li>An international organisation setting standards and evaluating company policies and practices </li></ul><ul><li>UN? OECD? NGO? The search companies? The EU? </li></ul><ul><li>US organisations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Center for Democracy and Technology (supported by the search engine companies) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Center for Digital Democracy (critical of CDT) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>An international search privacy certificate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>An international office for public information and education </li></ul></ul>
  13. <ul><li>Pandia Search Central </li></ul>