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Category Archives: Search Engines

How to Blur Your House in Google Maps’ Street View

Like Hacker – “While, sure, anybody could just drive by your house to see what it looks like—all the tin foil in the world isn’t going to shield you from that privacy “violation,” though a fence might help—you can make it harder for people to see your home on Google Maps. The solution involves blurring out your entire house, and while it’s a sure-fire way to make your abode the ugliest-looking address on your virtual block, you may still want to do it. If you don’t like the image Google captured with one of its many Street View cars, or you want to keep random internet strangers from doing digital drive-bys, the option is there. There’s also one big caveat if you use it. Once you elect to blur your address, you can’t unblur it. Full stop. I’m not sure Google even makes exemptions if you’re the new owner of a house that was previously blurred; you can try, but I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you. I also believe this request persists even if, or when, Google takes new Street View images of your area…” [Yes it does persist. Also note, you can request the same blurring of your home on Microsoft Bing – but it is not automatic and can take more than a week to complete.]

Google To Block Some Search Suggestions to Stop Election Misinformation

Bloomberg via Yahoo Finance: “Google said it will block some autocomplete search suggestions to stop misinformation spreading online during the U.S. presidential election in November. The autocomplete feature of the world’s largest search engine regularly recommends full queries once users begin typing words. The company said on Thursday it will remove predictions that could be… Continue Reading

The Search for Clarity in an Attorney’s Duty to Google

Murphy, Michael, The Search for Clarity in an Attorney’s Duty to Google (August 23, 2020). U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 20-30, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3682235 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3682235 “Attorneys have a professional duty to investigate relevant facts about the matters on which they work. There is no specific rule or statute… Continue Reading

Mozilla research: Browsing histories are unique enough to reliably identify users

“A recently published study conducted by three Mozilla employees has looked at the privacy provided by browsing histories.  Their findings show that most users have unique web browsing habits that allow online advertisers to create accurate profiles. These profiles can then be used to track and re-identify users across different sets of user data that… Continue Reading

Google releases data set of search trends for COVID-19 symptoms

“This aggregated, anonymized dataset shows trends in search patterns for symptoms and is intended to help researchers to better understand the impact of COVID-19. Public health experts indicated that trends in search patterns might be helpful in broadly understanding how COVID-19 impacts communities and even in detecting outbreaks earlier. You shouldn’t assume that the data… Continue Reading

You Should (Probably) Delete Your Google Data – Here’s How

Lifehacker: “…First let’s go over the data that can be automatically deleted, which the company organises into three different categories: Web and app history. This includes voice and audio data from Google assistant and other apps; data collected from apps synced to your Google account; all Chrome browsing history. YouTube search and watch histories Google… Continue Reading

Browsing histories are unique enough to reliably identify users

ZDNet – Mozilla research – Online advertisers don’t need huge lists of the sites we access. Just 50-150 of our favorite sites are enough.”A recently published study conducted by three Mozilla employees has looked at the privacy provided by browsing histories. Their findings show that most users have unique web browsing habits that allow online… Continue Reading

Replication: Why We Still Can’t Browse in Peace: On the Uniqueness and Reidentifiability of Web Browsing Histories

Replication: Why We Still Can’t Browse in Peace: On the Uniqueness and Reidentifiability of Web Browsing Histories. Sarah Bird, Ilana Segall, Martin Lopatka – Mozilla. This paper is included in the Proceedings of the Sixteenth Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security.August 10–11, 2020978-1-939133-16-8. “Abstract – We examine the threat to individuals’ privacy based on the… Continue Reading

Semantic Scholar Search Engine

“Semantic Scholar is a free, AI-powered search and discovery tool that helps researchers discover and understand scientific literature that’s most relevant to their work. Semantic Scholar uses machine learning techniques to extract meaning and identify connections from within papers, then surfaces these insights to help scholars gain an in-depth understanding quickly. Our mission is to… Continue Reading

Google location-tracking tactics troubled its own engineers

AP: “Google’s own engineers were troubled by the way the company secretly tracked the movements of people who didn’t want to be followed until a 2018 Associated Press investigation uncovered the shadowy surveillance, according to unsealed documents in a consumer fraud case. The behind-the-scenes peek stems from a three-month-old lawsuit against Google filed by Arizona’s… Continue Reading