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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Ask.com launches new Health Smart Answers

ask Ask.com launches new Health Smart AnswersAsk.com is introducing today the new Health Smart Answers that help people find trusted health and medical information faster. Smart Answers are special search results placed at the top of the results page that provide editorially-selected information as well as quick links to authoritative content. The new Health Smart Answers provide quick access to trusted information for a broad range of health-related topics, like diseases, symptoms, treatments and medications.

Microsoft and Ask.com call on industry to join together to evolve privacy protections for consumers

microsoft Microsoft and Ask.com call on industry to join together to evolve privacy protections for consumersBuilding on their respective efforts to protect consumer privacy, Microsoft Corp. and Ask.com, a wholly owned business of IAC, today joined together in the commitment to call on the industry to develop global privacy principles for data collection, use and protection related to searching and online advertising. The companies will work with other technology leaders, consumer advocacy organizations and academics to come together and join them in working on the development of these principles, which could include developing and sharing best practices to provide more control for consumers.

Microsoft and Ask.com are proposing that leading search providers, online advertising companies and privacy advocates convene to engage in an active dialogue to discuss privacy considerations posed by the proliferation of online advertising and search. The goal of the dialogue is to determine ways that the industry can work cooperatively to define privacy principles that take these new considerations into account. The companies will provide an update on their progress in September.

More information about Microsoft’s and Ask.com’s current privacy policies and practices is available at www.microsoft.com/privacy and about.ask.com/en/docs/about/privacy.shtml.