skyfaller: (Default)
Should we all be using this GoogleAnon bookmarklet to set our Google GUID to all zeros, in order to anonymize our searches? Is that a paranoid thing to do?

Does it even work? Is this sufficient to keep users' searches anonymous?

On the other side, should we all be using the Search History feature on Google, which is now part of the Personalized Search page? You get cool new toys and usability improvements in return for potentially giving up some privacy... is the trade-off worth it? Personally, I think would be better to have the option to store your "search history" on your computer instead, but as I found when I was forced to wipe my hard drive and reinstall recently, it's frequently more convenient to have your personal stuff stored on a remote server.

That's why I use del.icio.us... it now has a "private" tagging option, which means that I can even save links which I don't want the general public to know I'm interested in visiting. However, the government or whoever is running del.ico.us could presumably discover what I have saved "privately" on their servers, so it's not useful for anything more sensitive than porn links.

So, to recap...
(1)Is anonymizing necessary?
(2)Are the features you can get by giving away some privacy worth the tradeoff?
(3)Can we get the same features while retaining our privacy?
(4)Does anonymizing even work?

February 2009

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