You Can Hide, but You Can’t Run

Today Google responded to scrutiny regarding its privacy policies by decreasing the length of time that a user’s search records will be connected to their IP to 18 months (before it becomes “anonymous”). Privacy International’s study is neither surprising, nor especially revealing. But as difficult as it may be to define “privacy” in the open information age, the term “anonymous” may be even more cloudy, because it seems that on the Internet, everything leaves a fingerprint. 24 months, 18 months… I’m not buying it.

Speaking of fingerprinting, Google’s YouTube is partnering with Time-Warner and Disney to test video recognition software that essentially will automatically remove uploaded content that is detected as copyrighted, according to an “accurate enough and scalable enough” tool, said YouTube Partner Development Director Chris Maxcy.

Using Google to it’s fullest requires a definite privacy trade off, but one that is worth it. I expect to be identifiable. But if “anonymizing” data is to lead to greater privacy, I’d hate for it to come at the expense of personalization and as part of deal-making to satisfy only corporate partners.

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