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Ask.com adds privacy feature

While the leading search engines and social networking sites like Facebook are very eager to invade our privacy, Ask.com is taking the road less traveled with its new “privacy switch” named AskEraser.

Displayed prominently on the upper right corner of its home page, AskEraser gives users the power to delete their search activities from Ask.com’s servers within hours. All info like IP address, user ID, session ID, and the complete text of their searches will be deleted in just one click at the “AskEraser” link.

ask Ask.com adds privacy feature

Allowing online users to control information is practically a first in an industry filled with aggressive advertisers and information-hungry companies. Ask.com hopes other players will follow suit.

“Anywhere that you log into, anywhere where you put in personalized information, there should be a way – an easy way – to control how that information is used and retained,” said Doug Leeds, senior vice president at Ask.com, a unit of IAC/InterActive Corp. (IACI). “We are giving users the ability themselves to take control of their privacy.”

Still, information will not be totally erased because of the 5-year contract between Google and Ask.com. The search engine giant is not obliged to delete any data coming from Ask.com.

I guess we owe it all to Facebook for making a big mistake with Beacon. Now, every company is paying more attention to privacy issues more than ever.

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