Saturday, September 15, 2007

Google on International Internet Privacy Standards

Google Calls for International Standards on Internet Privacy and has taken some lumps from privacy advocates which may not be justifiable - YET. The linked Washington post article above quotes comments from Google's global privacy counsel, Peter Fleischer where he makes a case for a standards body to set and enforce privacy rules internationally.

Not a bad idea, especially if European standards are incorporated into that mix. But the fact is that Google is very likely to be making this call for international privacy standards simply to deflect concerns about their DoubleClick acquisition when a decision is made by the FTC.

I recently ran across the video below at the VortexDNA Blog. It is a whiteboard discussion of Google Privacy Policy by senior search engineer Maile Ohye - which makes no direct mention of major public concerns - but somehow manages to calm fears - even if you are a bit sceptical of the safety or your private information under current Google privacy practices.

All I can say to this issue is that Google has proven themselves trustworthy so far and has suffered no major data losses or privacy gaffes. This call for international privacy standards from Google appears at a time when they are under scrutiny for the DoubleClick acquisition and after Ask announced the "Ask Eraser" product which will allow any user to completely wipe out their search history and delete all information already gathered and opt out of future data gathering by Ask. Google and all other search engines should consider adopting the Ask Eraser model. Although right now it is all talk and little action by Ask as it is simply a promised product and not a reality.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Ask Eraser To Erase Search History To Launch Ask Eraser To Erase Search History & New Data Retention Policy. This is an excellent coverage by Search Engine Land of the newly announced Ask Privacy Initiative with the cute name. It appears that with the "Me Too!" announcement by Microsoft they will honor privacy concerns of users by anonymizing data after 18 months (as Google already has), that pressure is building on the search engines to offer privacy as a feature to lure new searchers.

According to Wired Magazine, Yahoo is now doing the "Me Too!" dance with this statement:

"We have decided on 13 month policy because we believe it is consistent with our commitment to our users' privacy and consistent with local data protection laws across the world," said Yahoo spokesman Jim Cullinan in a written statement.
Of all the hand waving and foot stomping, Ask really does appear to have the strongest privacy intentions. We'll see when all the noise dies down who does privacy best and who offers the most search privacy.

Meanwhile, if you want to stay on top of the news about search privacy, may I suggest you consider trying our Google Co-op powered Privacy Search Engine

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Microsoft & Ask Call for Privacy Initiatives

REDMOND, Wash., and OAKLAND, Calif. — July 22, 2007 — Building on their respective efforts to protect consumer privacy, industry leaders Microsoft Corp. and, a wholly owned business of IAC (NASDAQ: IACI), today joined together in the commitment to call on the industry to develop global privacy principles for data collection, use and protection related to searching and online advertising. The companies will work with other technology leaders, consumer advocacy organizations and academics to come together and join them in working on the development of these principles, which could include developing and sharing best practices to provide more control for consumers.

“As search and other online services progress, it’s important for our customers to be able to trust that their information is being used appropriately and in a way that provides value to them,” said Peter Cullen, chief privacy strategist at Microsoft. “We hope others in the industry will join us in developing and supporting principles that address these important issues. People should be able to search and surf online without having to navigate a complicated patchwork of privacy policies.”

“Anonymous user data can be very useful to enhance search products for all users, but people should have access to privacy controls based on their level of comfort around the storage of their search data,” said Doug Leeds, vice president of product management at “We’re committed to developing new ways to give consumers the control they are entitled to when it comes to searching online, and hope others will join us in engaging in dialogue on these important issues.”

Microsoft and are proposing that leading search providers, online advertising companies and privacy advocates convene to engage in an active dialogue to discuss privacy considerations posed by the proliferation of online advertising and search. The goal of the dialogue is to determine ways that the industry can work cooperatively to define privacy principles that take these new considerations into account. The companies will provide an update on their progress in September.

More information about Microsoft’s and’s current privacy policies and practices is available at and


A leading search engine on the Web, combines world-class search technology with one-of-a-kind search tools to help people get what they are looking for faster. sites include US (, Deutschland, Espana, France, Italia, Japan, Nederlands and UK. Additionally, syndicates its search technology and advertising units to a network of affiliate partners. is a division of IAC Search & Media, a wholly-owned business of IAC (NASDAQ: IACI).

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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posted by RealitySEO at 4:06 PM 2 comments