12 December 2007
Since I frequently criticize companies that have done something bad about privacy, it's only fair to praise the ones who do good things. Ask.com, a search engine, has introduced the AskEraser, an option to prevent it from retaining any user data, via cookies or any other mechanism.
One can quibble about some of the details: it may take a few hours to take effect, the option expires after two years, etc. More seriously, your queries are sometimes delivered to third parties, and the AskEraser does not affect that process. They do claim that you are protected by their contracts, but that's not the same as technical protections.
All that said, this is a big step in the right direction. Other search engines are prying ever deeper.