Google Yahoo MSN AOL and other search engines record your search queries and maintain massive databases that reach into the most intimate details of your life. When revealed to others these details can be embarrassing and even cause great harm. Would you want strangers to know where you or your child work or go to school? How about everyone seeing searches that reference your medical history financial information sexual orientation or religious affiliation?
Unfortunately information stored with a third-party is given much weaker legal protection than that on your own computer. It can be all too easy for the government or individual litigants to get access to your search history and connect it with your identity.
Your search data demands more substantive legal and technical protections. Learn more about this issue below and take action to defend your privacy.
Google v. DoJ Subpoena
In January 2006 the Justice Department asked a federal court in San Jose California to force Google to turn over search records for use as evidence in a case where the government is defending the constitutionality of the Child Online Protection Act (COPA). On March 17 2006 the judge rejected the government's overreaching request for user records.
EFF Related Content: Search Engines
- The digital rights group, Electronic Frontier Foundation, wants users to be aware of the potential threat to privacy.
- Eva Galperin of the Electronic Frontier Foundation has compiled a step-by-step guide to deleting and disabling your Web History, which includes the searches you've done and sites you've visited.
- The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a handy description (screenshots and everything!) of how exactly to do that. It's on my to-do list for this afternoon.
- This is a guest post from Eva Galperin of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. If you want to keep Google from combining your Web History with the data they have gathered about you in their other products, such as YouTube or Google Plus, you may want to remove all items from...