Search Engine Data Collection: Personal Information Actively Sought by Government Authorities and Private Businesses

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Search Engine Data Collection

Citizens’ personal information has always been actively sought by government authorities and by private businesses, and up until recently, has been kept exclusively by the institutions requesting the information. However, those days of confidentiality are over, as the world becomes increasingly structured upon the evolution of the Internet. Today, government authorities and private businesses have a multitude of ways to access personal information that is submitted through the World Wide Web, one of these methods being the surveillance and tracking of search requests through online search engines such as Google (Search Engine Privacy). The collection of personally identifiable data by search engines threatens consumer privacy and violates the US Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, which guarantees "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures" (Electronic Privacy). As the privacy rights of citizens are increasingly being compromised, governments need to implement stricter electronic privacy laws regarding search engine data collection to protect citizens from a world of blurred boundaries. The evolution of the World Wide Web has proved to be advantageous for private businesses that have prospered from the wealth of information that is granted to them through search engines. Search engine data analysis provides companies with crucial knowledge about their consumers, allowing businesses to maximize their profits by catering to their consumers’ needs and desires. An example of this is the analysis of search request trends to predict when prom dresses would sell best. One would assume that with most school proms taking place in May that March through April would be the ideal time to display prom dress content online; however, search engine data research concludes that the month with the most searches for “prom dress” is January. Companies can then take this...
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