Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A new system preserves the right to privacy in Internet searches

09.11.2009
A team of Catalan researchers has developed a protocol to distort the user profile generated by Internet search engines, in such a way that they cannot save the searches undertaken by Internet users and thus preserve their privacy. The study has been published in the Computer Communications magazine.

Just imagine someone from Company X who uses the Google search engine to obtain information about a certain technology. If Company Y, a competitor of X, should discover this situation, it could infer that the abovementioned technology is going to be used in X's new products, and with that information it could obtain a competitive edge.

In the same way, a mass media enterprise that finds out the searches undertaken by the competition's journalists could infer what news items they are working on and beat them to it. A personal report could also be drawn up on someone based on their searches.

In order to solve these types of situations, a team of researchers from three Catalan universities (the Rovira i Virgili University, the Autónoma of Barcelona and the Oberta of Catalonia) has developed a system which preserves user privacy via a new computer protocol, whose details are published in the Computer Communications magazine.

"It is a model based on cryptographic tools which distort the profile of users when they use search engines on Internet", explains Alexandre Viejo to SINC. He is one of the authors of the study and a researcher at the Computer Engineering Department of the Rovira i Virgili University, "in such a way that their privacy is preserved".

Search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft Live search save the profiles of their users (via an analysis of the searches they undertake) with the argument that they are more familiar with their interests and offer a more efficient response.

There currently exist types of software which provide anonymous navigation, such as the Tor network, but the new system "offers a clear improvement in response time". Nevertheless, Alexandre Viejo acknowledges that the application of the protocol delays searches slightly, "but it can be perfectly assumed by the user".

The tool prototype has already been tried in closed (research centre intranets) and open (internet) environments, "and the results allow us to be optimistic with the global implementation of the model". The researchers are now working on the development of a final user version and trust that it will soon be easily integrated into the main platforms and browsers.

References:

Jordi Castellà-Roca, Alexandre Viejo, Jordi Herrera-Joancomartí. "Preserving user's privacy in web search engines". Computer Communications 32 (13-14): 1541�, 2009.

SINC | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.plataformasinc.es

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Stable magnetic bit of three atoms
21.09.2017 | Sonderforschungsbereich 668

nachricht Drones can almost see in the dark
20.09.2017 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>