February 8, 2010 | By Kurt Opsahl

Google Superbowl Ad Explains The Need for Search Privacy

Google's ad during yesterday's Superbowl explained in less than a minute how the story of someone's life can be pieced together from their search queries. Using only the search terms and user's clicks of the search results, Google told the story of a user who seeks love while studying abroad in Paris, finds it, moves to Paris, marries and has a child.

mytubethumb play
%3Cobject%20width%3D%22320%22%20height%3D%22240%22%3E%3Cparam%20name%3D%22movie%22%20value%3D%22https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube-nocookie.com%2Fv%2FnnsSUqgkDwU%26amp%3Bhl%3Den_US%26amp%3Bfs%3D1%26amp%3Brel%3D0%3Fautoplay%3D1%22%20%2F%3E%3Cparam%20name%3D%22allowFullScreen%22%20value%3D%22true%22%20%2F%3E%3Cparam%20name%3D%22allowscriptaccess%22%20value%3D%22always%22%20%2F%3E%3Cembed%20src%3D%22https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube-nocookie.com%2Fv%2FnnsSUqgkDwU%26amp%3Bhl%3Den_US%26amp%3Bfs%3D1%26amp%3Brel%3D0%3Fautoplay%3D1%22%20type%3D%22application%2Fx-shockwave-flash%22%20allowscriptaccess%3D%22always%22%20allowfullscreen%3D%22true%22%20width%3D%22320%22%20height%3D%22240%22%3E%3C%2Fembed%3E%3C%2Fobject%3E
Privacy info. This embed will serve content from youtube-nocookie.com

The poignant story, along with Google's suite of search stories, masterfully illustrates how some of the most intimate information in our lives--from planning a trip to political activism--are routinely and vividly expressed in our interactions with Google, and highlights the need for that information to have strong protections.

The Superbowl ad was Google's first foray into national television advertising, and it's great that Google used this opportunity to illustrate the importance of search privacy to one of the world's largest audiences. Now that Google has shown how personal its records of user interaction are, it should follow through and protect that information from involuntary disclosure by anonymizing search queries. Microsoft's Bing is anonymizing this information after six months by deleting the entire Internet Protocol ("IP") address associated with your search queries. Google can and should anonymize search queries in the same way after six months or less.


Deeplinks Topics

Stay in Touch

NSA Spying

EFF is leading the fight against the NSA's illegal mass surveillance program. Learn more about what the program is, how it works, and what you can do.

Follow EFF

Join @the_zeroth_law, @doctorow, @dane, and David Segal for an AMA on the FCC's privacy rules, Monday at 9am PDT. https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA...

Mar 25 @ 6:31pm

EFF brings lessons from its comprehensive Surveillance Self-Defense guide to the San Francisco Public Library. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks...

Mar 25 @ 1:26pm

Pls plan to call your House Rep Monday, "vote no FCC privacy repeal" If your rep is Republican, ask 5 friends too https://eff.org/gopp

Mar 24 @ 4:18pm
JavaScript license information