I’m currently in Toronto, Canada for iConference 2012, presented by the iSchools organization, a worldwide collective of 33 Information Schools. The theme of the conference is “Culture-Design-Society”, and I will be presenting a paper titled “The ethical (re)design of the Google Books project”. The paper is available in the ACM digital library; the abstract and [...]
Special Topics in Information Science – The Search Engine Society:
Search engines have become the center of gravity of our contemporary information society, providing a powerful interface for accessing the vast amount of information available on the World Wide Web and beyond. The audacious mission of Google, for example, is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Attaining such a goal necessarily results in significant changes to the ways in which information is created, stored, retrieved, and used. This course will critically examine the nature of search engines and their role in our information society, and reveal the unique challenges they bring to bear on information institutions, information policy, and information ethics.
To celebrate Data Privacy Day, Google has published its 5 guiding privacy principles. The principles are something every organization should commit to and strive for. The problem is, Google hasn’t adhered to them quite as closely as they’d want you to believe….
Microsoft has fired a new salvo into the search privacy wars, announcing it will delete IP addresses from the Bing search engine logs after 6 months.
Microsoft has decided to take the lead in search privacy and agree to the European Union’s demand that data retention be cut to six months. Previously, Microsoft de-identified its search logs immediately, but didn’t purge the IP address until 18 months. Now, de-identification still takes place immediately, and the IP addresses are completely removed in 6 months.
Perhaps the greatest ethos surrounding Google’s success is its — and users’ — faith in the algorithm. Users trust Google, and have faith that the results provided are accurate and helpful. Sometimes, however, that trust can be misplaced. Recently, a student in one of my classes gave a presentation on Google, and proceeded to explain [...]
When Google launched Google Latitude 9 months ago, they took steps to ensure users’ locational privacy was protected. Among the most important privacy-protecting features was the fact that Google didn’t keep a log of user locations on its servers; only the most recent locational ping was stored. Not even law enforcement could gain access to [...]