NewsThe Privacy Arms Race

Camouflaging searches in a sea of fake queries

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Science  30 Jan 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6221, pp. 502
DOI: 10.1126/science.347.6221.502

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Summary

From health questions to shopping habits, your Web search history contains some of the most personal information that you reveal online, and search engine giants like Google and Bing save these data. Privacy-conscious users can switch to anonymous search engines, but these don't match the speed and convenience that Google offers. For consumers who want to continue using their favorite search services but with added protection, researchers at New York University in New York City have developed a browser extension called TrackMeNot that produces dummy search requests that drown out a user's real queries, thwarting any attempt to profile them.