2008
09.14

Google again…

(This topic is getting kind of old by now.)

As you know, Google has more phds working for it than a dog has fleas. But it seem like the fleas are more useful to the dog than the phds are for google. Google anonymization technique? You know, the one they had groundbreakingly decided to use after 9 months instead of 18 months…

Are you ready?

The anonymization technique is replacing the last 8 bits of your IP address by zeros. I kid you not.

Well. Well. Well. I guess thats the best google can do. Funny, and I thought some of the people working in google (especially some of the “non”-phds) were really really smart. My mistake – so sorry…

  1. This is the usual bane of a big company. After a while, they fail to utilize the researchers for anything. They hire a bunch of hacks who think they can handle everything.

  2. What anonymization technique you would recommend for them?

  3. They can zero out the whole IP address.

    They can use RSA to encode the IP addresses and then throw away the private keys.

    They could zero out 8 bits in the IP address. Fill an array of size 2^{24} with random permutation of 0…2^{24}-1, and map the truncated IP address to these numbers, and then delete the mapping.

    And finally, they can check out the literature, and figure out when anonymization techniques people came up with. I think there is work on it in crypto.

    But the above all, google should start show some minimum respect to their customers and their privacy.

  4. They didn’t find any of your suggestions because their phds are secretly working on their master anonymization plan : making enough reality shows to include everyone.

    Rafi.

  5. They may be anonymizing to avoid subpoenas, not to protect privacy as such.

  6. That is hilarious… and sad at the same time. Market leaders on the cutting edge – yeah sure.