Search Engine Ditches All Log Files

from the searching-blind dept

There's been a silly, and mostly meaningless, one-upmanship lately in the search engine world, concerning how long the search engines retain log file info on things like the IP address of searchers. Some privacy advocates have claimed that this is a big privacy issue, though the "threat" is significantly overblown. However, it's still interesting to see a Dutch meta-search engine now announce that it's ignoring IP addresses entirely. The site, Ixquick, which has always promoted itself as being privacy friendly, used to dump log files after 48 hours, but is now ditching them completely. That's great, as an option, but it hardly means that others should do the same. It gives ixquick a way to differentiate itself in the market -- and those who really are worried about their IP addresses being watched (and haven't figured out how to use an IP-anonymizing service yet) can go use that search engine. But for those who actually find benefits in sharing some data with their search engine of choice, they should be free to do so.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Jan 30th, 2009 @ 3:32am

    Google

    Ball is in your court...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2009 @ 5:21am

    All webservers should dump all logs by default.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    John Duncan Yoyo, Jan 30th, 2009 @ 6:49am

    Meta Search without Google

    I tried it and noticed that the list of search engines used does not include Google. Lots of others are there but without Google can it work? I guess as a test of what Google misses it may be OK.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    mordreas, Jan 30th, 2009 @ 7:26am

    open market

    that's the open market each search engine has it's own olicy if you don't like it use another one ^^

    latly people are expecting it the other way around they expect the service to be crafted to them instead of picking the service best suited to their needs

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Cipher-0, Jan 30th, 2009 @ 8:06am

    It seems a little contradictary...

    Some privacy advocates have claimed that this is a big privacy issue

    How is it that tracking IP addresses is both a "privacy issue" and not a valid way to tracking child porn downloaders? Aren't those two ideas in direct contradiction?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    Janet Altman, Jan 30th, 2009 @ 8:58am

    Criminal activity leaves a person without a certain amount of privacy rights (right to search and seisure, etc.). But for those of us out there, most of us, we have the right to our own private lives and to promote the safety and security of that life.

    What I would like to see you publish here is a how to of how to protect our IP addresses. You illuded to it briefly.

    Been reading a great deal about digital security through http://www.justaskgemalto.com and wondering if you might expand on what they mention just to round out the information field. Thx.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Ron, Jan 30th, 2009 @ 9:09am

    This may be pointless if the user's ISP logs your web requests and keeps them around and allow access to those logs when demanded. There is more than one link in this chain.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    TheBeard, Jan 30th, 2009 @ 9:28am

    Re: @ Ron (comment 7)

    True, there are more than one link in the chain, but at least this gives more people the ability to remove one of those links. While it might not be much, it's still more privacy than before.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Richelieu, Jan 30th, 2009 @ 9:32am

    Re: It seems a little contradictary...

    The issue is the generation of a weakly-associated audit trail that provides mountains of easily faked evidence to accuse somebody of heinous crimes, evidence that is not of good enough quality to convict somebody, but sufficient to destroy their reputation.

    Search engine log files are like surveillance pictures showing you walking into a adult bookstore and coming out with a brown paper shopping bag -- not enough to prove you are a criminal, nor to convict in a court of law, but plenty to convince your neighbors and congregation you are an evil pervert who ought to be run out of town, "for the children!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2009 @ 3:13pm

    "There's been a silly, and mostly meaningless, one-upmanship lately...."
    Having read too much techdirt I instantly recognized a story that was going to criticize some non-American effort as compared to american.

    "...though the "threat" is significantly overblown." continuing with the standard trick of quoting "facts" on the assumption that anything the Masnicks say is instantly fact.

    "...and those who really are worried about their IP addresses being watched (and haven't figured out how to use an IP-anonymizing service yet)..."
    Ignoring the fact that such services are horribly slow and degrade the internet experience whereas Ixquick doesn't

    .... typical techdirt nonsense.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    Houston search engine optimization, Jan 31st, 2009 @ 8:28am

    Anonymous web surfing

    I guess the average person doesn't know about proxy servers but it's just as simple as entering a web url and hitting the enter key to hide you ip address.

    -Gerald Weber

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2009 @ 9:19am

    Re: Anonymous web surfing

    It's actually not that simple - you need to have access to a proxy and you usually have to pay for it just like you pay your ISP including all the identifications etc. and if the proxy keeps any records at all then it may not help much (but it will slow you down).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2009 @ 12:43pm

    How to anonymise?

    and those who really are worried about their IP addresses being watched (and haven't figured out how to use an IP-anonymizing service yet)

    i am one of these people... does anyone have any recommendations as to a easy and effective manner of doing this without throttling your speeds?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    Lydia, May 25th, 2009 @ 3:26am

    online spying

    I believe that all Internet subjects collect much more information than we think about us. Yes, our privacy is endangered but it seems like few people are ready to take some real action against it. Lydia, Westhost Review

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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