Cyber Safety: Who's Watching You Search?

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In years past, cyber safety curriculum has included information like:
"Be aware of your soundings... make sure no one sees you enter passwords or confidential information on your computer."
Well, guess what?  Someone is watching all of your searches..... search engines create a log of all your searches.  What does that log look like and why do they save it?

The Google: Good to Know campaign has excellent information on this topic.

Here is an example Google search log:

 What does each piece mean? - This is the IP Address from your computer.  It gives a location based on your ISP (Internet service provider).

Aug/2011 10:15:32 - Date and time of your Internet search.

Http:// - The website and term you searched.  What was this person searching?  CARS!

Chrome - The browser you are using.

WindowsNT5.1 - The operating system on your computer

740674ce2123e969 - this is a cookie that stores the information

Google retains this information for 18 months - 2 years.  Other search providers have followed suit and have a time limit on search logs.

Why is this information saved?
In a previous blog post, we discussed the need for Internet cookies to customize the web for your needs.  Searches can be customized, too!  If you searched "cars," Google wants to provide the best results.  Did you mean toy cars, real cars, race cars?  Depending on how you click the results will make a future search more applicable.

Safety is another HUGE reason.  You have probably read or seen an article about a child pornography bust.  When they seize a computer, cyber detectives can view all the search history..... even if it is deleted by the user.

Cyber Safety is a two way street..... the user and the content provider work in partnership to create a safe online environment.

Graphic Courtesy of:

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