dimanche 1 février 2009

3.3.1 Privacy issues

I am a bit divided on this topic because I consider it as the mass public
« scarecrow » which is only good to animate polemical debates for nothing.
It finds its explanations in the way that search engines are collecting
When analyzing search engines we have to consider that it is a free
product for all of us (in fact search engines get paid by displaying
advertisement on each web page). Each time you are making a
research on the Internet the search engine you are using registers the IP
number of your computer and of course the research you just made. All these data are
of course supposed to be confidential but some are used in order to make some
statistics such as how many Internet users from a specific country have visited this
website. It can be used for other purposes such as the rank of the most used research
and others data such as those. Of course the more information you give and the most
they collect so if you open an email account on a search engine for example they will
collect your name, address. Until now few are the cases where we got the proof that
information collected by search engines have been given to third parties. The most
famous one is the one of Yahoo in China which filtered some emails and gives the
names of some Chinese journalists who were denouncing things about the Chinese
To make it clear until now no mass exploitation of data have been observed
and the recent news given by major search engines (Microsoft and Google) are
saying that the trend is to eliminate those data as much as possible in the fear of
losing confidentiality25. We however have to consider an additional element the more
search engine know about what we are looking for and the most they can fit our
expectations, so I personally do not think that reducing the collection of data is in
people interest and I will qualify the privacy issue as a global scarecrow in order to
bug the major search engines and putting on the first row some alternative ones
which on the long run may will not fix those issues.

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