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Web Search Privacy Issues

Time: Thursday, May 10, 2007 (3:30pm-5:00pm)

Location: Theatre

Moderator: Greg Conti (United States Military Academy, USA)



Best practices for user privacy and data retention are a controversial issue in the WWW community. As highlighted by the accidental disclosure of search terms by AOL last summer, web users have shown a marked propensity to disclose personal information while using the powerful free tools provided by web companies. Some believe retention of data (for example search queries) is an essential business requirement and critical to admirable goals such as perfect search. After all, the services are free and the user could always choose not to use them. Others believe that data collection and retention are threats to privacy and, despite even the best intentions of web companies, the power these stockpiles provide will eventually be abused. The other major players in the equation are law enforcement and governmental agencies who have supported positions both for and against data retention. The purpose of the panel is to address these issues head on and jointly seek solutions that will allow web companies to flourish, while at the same time protecting the privacy rights of individuals and organizations. This panel consists of experts from diverse positions on these topics, includes representatives from industry, academia and government and promises a lively, compelling and relevant discussion.