• Be careful what you search for online….

    18 Apr 2008

    Talk about the ultimate in privacy invasion. Every search engine query we make – be it business or personal – is tracked. I figured this was happening…That’s what computers do anyway, right? It’s just scary to think about it especially when you see the hard facts.

    Google retains their queries for 18 months – something I wasn’t aware of. I know if we’re using someone else’s systems, they are their systems, and I suppose everything’s fair game. The EU’s data protection working party recently released recommendations loosening the search engine retention stranglehold. I’m curious to see how this plays out.

    Europe has always been ahead of the game on personal privacy. At least on paper. Political spying and intrusion, well…that’s another story.

    Anyway, proceed with caution when searching for things you believe could be held against you. All it would take is some innocent queries for professional research, for a family member, whatever – taken out of context. Then how are you going to prove your intent was not malicious?

    Logging out of Google (assuming you have an account) may help a bit even though your IP address is tracked. You could also use Anonymizer or similar service. Not that that guarantees ultimate privacy – these are third-parties with your information too but that creates some semblance of privacy. Sort of a layered privacy defense.

    Look, don’t get me wrong. I’m all about big brother in the workplace…Employees get paid to do their work and employers should have the right to monitor what’s going on. I’m also for ethical usage of the Internet…I’m certainly not condoning doing anything bad on the Internet because of my stance on this. I just shudder at the thought of how this information will be used against us in the future.