Covering your search tracks on the Web

A friend sent me a link to a Firefox extension called TrackMeNot. It randomly sends searches to the major search engines (Google, Yahoo!, AOL and MSN.)

The goal is to pollute the data stream so that it becomes hard to tell what a specific user searched on. It’s a high tech version of what Stephen Colbert proposed. (Use IE to view Comedy Central’s awful site.)

Because it sends the requests from your computer, using your browser, it is harder to block.

Many of the fake queries — “sleeping cans” and “Amiga salmon noddy scratched” — are easy for a human to pick out, but harder for automated systems.

It’s an interesting approach to the privacy issue.


About Rakesh Agrawal

Rakesh Agrawal is Senior Director of product at Amazon (Audible). Previously, he launched local and mobile products for Microsoft and AOL. He tweets at @rakeshlobster.
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