Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ask.com will allow users to stop storage of search engine requests

The San Francisco and DC Examiner s (p 16 in the Tuesday Dec. 11, 2007 DC Examiner) carried a story today by Michael Liedtke, "Ask.com to Unveil New Privacy Control," link here. The feature will enable users to have their search requests removed immediately so that they cannot be stored in data banks and requested by the government (or perhaps advertisers) later.

If you log on to ask.com today, you see a link button at the top "AskEraser" that, when brought up (in a sub-window) reads "When AskEraser is enabled your search activity will be deleted from Ask.com servers."

Remember that during the COPA (Child Online Protection Act) trial, Google was asked by the government to cough up millions of search engine request strings so that the government could claim that minors tend to look for prurient material. The government (DOJ) says that it did not receive the identities of the web visitors from this request.

Picture (unrelated): from the "don't ask don't tell" prayer service Sunday Dec 2 on the Washington Mall. I was (am) a COPA plaintiff and much of my material deals with "don't ask don't tell." The domain name "ask.com" very much reminds us of "asking and telling."

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