skip to content Lets You Keep Your Searches Private Lets You Keep Your Searches Private

“I think that it is a step forward. It is the first time that a large company is giving individuals choices that are so transparent.”
Ari Schwartz, Center for Democracy and Technology

December 12, 2007 —

The battle over internet privacy has been around as long as the web itself, and while it's probably true that there never will be such a thing as true anonymity on the internet, privacy advocates believe that the less information that's collected about you, the better. Whether or not you have anything to hide, do you really want companies like Google and Yahoo! to be able to sell information about your browsing habits to advertisers without your knowledge or approval? says "no", and is offering users the ability to stay anonymous when using its search engine. Google and Yahoo! compile data on everything you search for and hold onto it for more than a year, using it for research, security purposes and in some cases to increase the value of the web advertising they sell. --- which incidentally uses Google's advertising system to turn a profit --- allows you to turn off all data collection on your search habits or erase all previously aggregated data at any time.

It's not a huge victory for internet privacy, but it's a start. If manages to pull just a little business away from Google and Yahoo! with its "Ask Eraser" program, hopefully that will pave the way for more internet businesses to offer similar features.


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