"Interesting stuff of the Technology, Products and Web 2.0..."

Monday, July 16, 2007

Google on improving the Privacy

As a part of commitment to an ongoing process to improve our privacy practices, Google has recently taken a closer look at the question of cookie privacy. How long should a web site "remember" cookie information in its logs after a user's visit? And when should a cookie expire on your computer? Cookie privacy is both a server and a client issue.

On the server side, Google has recently announced that they will anonymize our search server logs — including IP addresses and cookie ID numbers — after 18 months.

Now, there is a question about cookie lifetime: when should a cookie expire on your computer?

Google said: "After listening to feedback from our users and from privacy advocates, we've concluded that it would be a good thing for privacy to significantly shorten the lifetime of our cookies — as long as we could find a way to do so without artificially forcing users to re-enter their basic preferences at arbitrary points in time. And this is why we’re announcing a new cookie policy"

In the coming months, Google will start issuing our users cookies that will be set to auto-expire after 2 years, while auto-renewing the cookies of active users during this time period. In other words, users who do not return to Google will have their cookies auto-expire after 2 years. Regular Google users will have their cookies auto-renew, so that their preferences are not lost. And, as always, all users will still be able to control their cookies at any time via their browsers.

Together, these steps — logs anonymization and cookie lifetime reduction — are part of our ongoing plan to continue innovating in the area of privacy to protect our users.

Note that few days back Privacy International has published a report on "Privacy Ranking of Internet Service Companies" where Google Inc performed very poorly, scoring lowest among the other major companies that were surveyed... more

No comments: