What Google Knows: Privacy and Internet Search Engines

Search engines are the most important phenomenon on the Internet today and Google is the gold standard of search. Google evokes ambivalent feelings. It is adored for its ingenuity, simple, modest-looking interface and superb services offered at no (evident) cost. Yet increasingly, it is feared by privacy advocates who view it as a private sector big brother posing perhaps the biggest privacy problem of all times. Google is an informational gatekeeper harboring previously unimaginable riches of personal data. Billions of search queries stream across Google’s servers each month, the aggregate thoughtstream of humankind, online. Google compiles individual search logs, containing information about users’ fears and expectations, interests and passions, and ripe with information that is financial, medical, sexual, political, in short – personal in nature. How did Google evolve from being a benevolent giant seeking to do no evil into a privacy menace reviled by human rights advocates worldwide? Are the fears of Google’s omniscient presence justified or overstated? What personal data should Google be allowed to retain and for how long? What rules should govern access to Google’s database? What are the legal protections currently in place and are they sufficient to quell the emerging privacy crisis? These are the main issues addressed in this article. See SSRN page for this and additional articles here.

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6 Responses to “What Google Knows: Privacy and Internet Search Engines”

  1. amusing facts Says:

    Stumbled upon your blog a week ago and decided to come back. Not for the articles you write, but for how you write them, really amazing stuff you’re doing here, i like how you put information into the articles which makes it much more easier to read and much more interesting of course. Keep up the good work!

  2. Benjamin Nicolau Says:

    Recently Google made a call world-wide to advance in the unification of the international norms on privacy, without it supposes a brake to the development of Internet, the call became in Brussels in the seat of UNESCO, (the United Nations for the Education, Science and the Culture).

  3. Benjamin Nicolau Says:

    The Spanish Agency of Data Protection (AGPD) has done a report and a public communication in which keeps an coherent attitude according to the topic and the National and International repercussions.

    The press note and the report can be found in this link: (https//www.agpd.es/index.php)

    Then, as publishers are responsible for the content in accordance with the laws that regulates Internet and data protection, so searches are.

    Among the conclusions of the report, it should be mentioned the seventh one that says literally: “It’s necessary to limit the use and the preservations of the personal data” and the number eight says: “searching services must respect the rights that people have to cancel the data that some links show the public in websites”. It means, every single or juridical person can be against that his data are indexed-link and are showed everybody.”

    The report marks there is not a uniform policy about privacy in web search engine. It is not enough to protect personal information and it should be more responsible and respectful. The report says that some clear informative mechanisms should be developed in order to let the users know which use will be done to their data.

  4. sandrar Says:

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

  5. Gladden Says:

    How do you feel about euthanasia?

  6. Hines Says:


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