Search requests - traceable back to you?

This seems rather disturbing:

[quote]Dixon is hoping Google’s battle with the government reminds people to be careful how they interact with search engines.

“When you are looking at that blank search box, you should remember that what you fill can come back to haunt you unless you take precautions,” she said.

Google Rebuffs Feds on Search Requests[/quote]
Does this mean that someone could possibly find out, say, that yesterday it was I who searched Google for “communist string-beans in teriyaki sauce with Chinese characteristics?” Or, more probably, if the husband of an old girlfriend of mine were some kind of internet whiz, could he discover that one day in fit of curiousity and boredom I spent an hour searching her name in Google? How would that be possible technologically speaking?

And just how do you “take precautions” when using a search engine, aside from making sure no one is sitting behind you looking over your shoulder when you search for sensitive stuff?

Google has gigantic data on its HDDs. Everyone with quite a lot of online presence has his whole bio there. I tried to search for my real name once and got almost my whole life lying down in the google list. Google could misuse this information.

Regarding your question: Google could keep records which IP address has searched for what keywords. Combined with the information kept by your Internet Service Provider (Mr. X has assigned IP Y at time Z) this could lead to tracing back who (meaning the real persons name) has searched what keyword. is infamous for doing this in cooperation with PR China, to track down political incorrect internet users within the PRC.

No other person should be able to find out what you have searched on your computer unless this person has access to your PC. In this case, you can see old search terms in the browser unless you clean it.

It is known that companies were offering to deploy a virus/trojan horse at a target compuer (by email) of a person A to give a person B online access to the screen. I have read about such a US company recently, it has been closed by court decision and its owner was sentenced. So no danger for that anymore.

If you’re worried, turn off ‘cookies’ in your browser for google (there’ll be a privacy setting in your options somewhere which allows this).

Cookies are used so that (e.g.)Google can remember you, and will know your search history. They actually provide a feature where if you register with them (e.g. if you have a Gmail account) you can access your own full history of searches … for example, I know that on Jun 7, 2005 I did a search for “gps bluetooth” and at 5.07pm clicked on a [

Yes, google can store your IP, and the police can demand that from google, and then demand your ISP to tell them who was using that IP, that is what happens in the case of child porn or downloading Madonna’s lastest single. (or mentioning “democracy” in the PRC)

And yes, google does use cookies so they know the person who searched for “communist string-beans in teriyaki sauce with Chinese characteristics” was the same person who searched for “Britney Spears” yesterday. But only google would know that. And there’s no way your mum can find out you searched for “BFM nude pictures”

Phew! :wink:

You mean like these: … tthese/htm