Ask.com First Major Search Engine to Allow Deletion of All User Search History



SEL has a great overview of Ask.com’s pending launch of AskEraser, which will allow users to delete their search history at any time.

From the press release:

With AskEraser, people can ensure that their search history will not be retained by Ask.com. Searchers will have easy access to AskEraser and can change their privacy preference at any time. Once selected, searchers’ privacy settings will be clearly indicated on search results pages so they always know the privacy status of their searches.

“AskEraser is a great solution for those looking for an additional level of privacy when they search online,” said Jim Lanzone, CEO of Ask.com. “Anonymous user data can be very useful to enhance search products for all users, and we’re committed to being open and transparent about how such information is used. But we also understand that there are some who are interested in new tools that will help protect their privacy further, and we will give them that control on Ask.com.”

There’s no date on when AskEraser will launch – they’re still figuring out the technical details of actually deleting the data. Danny explains…

Doing it is somewhat tricky. You’ll need to identify the person as someone who has enrolled in AskEraser, which will almost certainly be done by looking at their cookie. There’s a degree of irony — to be anonymous in searching at Ask, you’ll have to identify yourself via a cookie!

I’m sure it’s going to be a work in progress, but hats-off to Ask.com for stepping up to the plate and giving searchers a real option for removing their data. Now, if we could just get the search engines to let us have back all of the data we give them – it goes in, but it doesn’t come out.

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