A Policy Perspective on Query Log Privacy-Enhancing Techniques

author: Alissa Cooper, Center for Democracy and Technology
published: March 12, 2009,   recorded: February 2009,   views: 2940


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As popular search engines face the sometimes conflicting interests of protecting privacy while retaining query logs for a variety of uses, numerous technical measures have been suggested to both enhance privacy and preserve at least a portion of the utility of query logs. This article seeks to assess seven of these techniques against three sets of criteria: (1) how well the technique protects privacy, (2) how well the technique preserves the utility of the query logs, and (3) how well the technique might be implemented as a user control. A user control is defined as a mechanism that allows individual Internet users to choose to have the technique applied to their own query logs.

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