Cuil’s Incredible Privacy Policy

by on July 29, 2008 · 15 comments

First, an excerpt:

[W]hen you search with Cuil, we do not collect any personally identifiable information, period. We have no idea who sends queries: not by name, not by IP address, and not by cookies (more on this later). Your search history is your business, not ours.

Next, the obligatory read the whole thing.

Because you can. It’s just a little over 500 words.

  • http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk Dan Lockton

    Is this because of ethics, or a structural decision to limit their possible potential liability and the hassle involved? Either way, it’s interesting.

  • http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk Dan Lockton

    Is this because of ethics, or a structural decision to limit their possible potential liability and the hassle involved? Either way, it’s interesting.

  • Ryan Radia

    Well, maybe they should start logging IP addresses–doing so has worked out pretty nicely for Google, and considering how terrible Cuil’s search results are, they need all the help they can get.

  • Jim Harper

    How would logging IP addresses improve their search results? Google policy people here in D.C. – true, they may not be the most knowledgeable about the guts of Google’s search and advertising algorithms – say that there’s nothing better than a person’s current search for determining ad relevance. “Psychographic profiling” – or whatever you might want to call it – isn’t that important.

  • Ryan Radia

    Well, maybe they should start logging IP addresses–doing so has worked out pretty nicely for Google, and considering how terrible Cuil’s search results are, they need all the help they can get.

  • Jim Harper

    How would logging IP addresses improve their search results? Google policy people here in D.C. – true, they may not be the most knowledgeable about the guts of Google’s search and advertising algorithms – say that there’s nothing better than a person’s current search for determining ad relevance. “Psychographic profiling” – or whatever you might want to call it – isn’t that important.

  • Ryan Radia

    I don’t really know if IP addresses are all that useful. But Google maintains records of IP addresses and search queries for 18 months, even though the practice is getting more and more controversial. You have to assume there’s at least some pretty good reasoning behind for Google’s data retention policy.
    Not that I’m for IP logging, though, even if it means better search results. Consumers demand privacy and the market is providing it, which is exactly what we should expect from competitive discipline.

  • Jim Harper

    I agree that this is a good example of the market providing privacy (or at least seeking to) consistent with consumer demand (which, of course, is distinct from consumer-advocate demand).

    As a consumer myself, I don’t assume that there’s a good reason for Google’s data retention policy. Most IT systems collect information by default, without regard to need and without balancing privacy considerations, so I assume that Google fell into the habit of long data-retention terms and that they may not have a fully justifiable reason for doing so, all things considered.

    Trying to dictate data retention terms from the outside (i.e. through regulation) would be a fool’s errand, and handing that authority to governments would lead to longer data retention terms and less privacy as the interests of law enforcement (more trumped up than genuine) would prevail.

  • Ryan Radia

    I don’t really know if IP addresses are all that useful. But Google maintains records of IP addresses and search queries for 18 months, even though the practice is getting more and more controversial. You have to assume there’s at least some pretty good reasoning behind for Google’s data retention policy.
    Not that I’m for IP logging, though, even if it means better search results. Consumers demand privacy and the market is providing it, which is exactly what we should expect from competitive discipline.

  • Jim Harper

    I agree that this is a good example of the market providing privacy (or at least seeking to) consistent with consumer demand (which, of course, is distinct from consumer-advocate demand).

    As a consumer myself, I don’t assume that there’s a good reason for Google’s data retention policy. Most IT systems collect information by default, without regard to need and without balancing privacy considerations, so I assume that Google fell into the habit of long data-retention terms and that they may not have a fully justifiable reason for doing so, all things considered.

    Trying to dictate data retention terms from the outside (i.e. through regulation) would be a fool’s errand, and handing that authority to governments would lead to longer data retention terms and less privacy as the interests of law enforcement (more trumped up than genuine) would prevail.

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