What do search engines know about you?


What Search Sites Know About You is an interesting article at Wired.com. Interesting quote from the article "I think I'd rather have a list of someone's search terms for the past 30 days than a list of the books they've read for a year," Brandt said. "It tells what someone is thinking at a particular moment in time. That's very valuable information."


From the article Of course, many people concerned with privacy simply opt to give false information. This strategy can work, except when you lose your password and the site won't supply it until you accurately re-enter your now-forgotten fake name and birthday.
This line in the article reminded me of a line spoken by the main character in the book Friday by Robert Heinlein. The line goes Besides, as my boss says, with all governments everywhere tightening down on everything wherever they can, with their computers and their Public Eyes and ninety-nine other sorts of electronic surveillance, there is a moral obligation on each free person to fight back wherever possible--keep underground railways open, keep shades drawn, give misinformation to computers. Computers are literal-minded and stupid; electronic records aren't really records . . . so it is good to be alert to opportunities to foul up the system. If you can't evade a tax, pay a little too much to confuse their computers. Transpose digits. And so on.....

Friday is a very interesting book. The main character "Friday" is a courier who is a genetically enhanced woman. She works for sometype of intelligence organization that the book never gives much detail about. One thing that is interesting to observe in the book is how the character uses something that is similar to the internet and the book was written pre-internet.

Misinformation is a great way to deal with the nosiness age. I just switched to a pay-as-you-go cell phone, bought in cash, registered with a fake name... Doesn't protect me from anything real but makes me feel a little better.

It might not be worth fighting, though. As Scott McNealy put it, "you have no privacy, get over it". Or, according to David Brin, we should formalise the transparent society so *everyone* has access to all the information, which means that a few priveleged people can't exploit secret info nobody else knows.