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Government Surveillance

Article: Search Query Log Privacy is a Balancing Act

Search engines have numerous technical measures at their disposal to enhance the privacy of their stored query logs, CDT’s Alissa Cooper explains in the journal “ACM Transactions on the Web.” The article assesses seven of these techniques against three sets of criteria: (1) how well the technique protects privacy, (2) how well the technique preserves the utility of the query logs for search engine companies, and (3) how well the technique might be implemented on an individual basis as a user control. For search engine companies navigating an increasingly complex privacy landscape, it is likely that these kinds of techniques in combination with policy measures will ultimately be required to develop a strategy that protects privacy and maintains the utility of query logs for many different purposes.