There’s an opinion column on the NYT website which raises the questions of privacy in search terms. Recently, AOL made public the search terms that its users have used. Often people search for things on the Internet that they don’t want being public knowledge. Things such as: “what is this weird growth on my ass?” or “rape counseling”. Search engines like Google, Yahoo, AOL, MSN, etc store search queries indefinitely. This practice is infringing on your privacy. One of the fundamentally great things about the Internet is its anonymity. As technology grows we need to take steps to insure that users retain their privacy. You wouldn’t like it if Qwest or AT&T recorded all of your phone conversations, so why do we allow search engines to record our searches?
There are some Firefox extensions that hide your identity when using search engines by routing your searches through a dynamic IP address. There’s also some freeware available for Windows, Linux, or Mac (TOR).