<< by Tad Miller on October 26th, 2010
This morning I read on Search Engine Land that their is a new Class Action Complaint against Google over its sharing of search query data with its advertisers. There are portions of this complaint that are just laughable from the perspective of those in search engine marketing.
The Complaint alleges:
Google has consistently and intentionally designed its services to ensure that user search queries, which often contain highly-sensitive and personally-identifiable information (“PII”), are routinely transferred to marketers, data brokers, and sold and resold to countless other third parties.
The user search queries disclosed to third parties can contain, without limitation, users’ real names, street addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, social security numbers, financial account numbers and more, all of which increases the risk of identity theft. User search queries can also contain highly-personal and sensitive issues, such as confidential medical information, racial or ethnic origins, political or religious beliefs or sexuality, which are often tied to the user’s personal information.
The Search Query Data
The suit is basically about the search query referral data passed to site owners every time a Google searcher clicks on a search result and drives traffic to that web site. It’s my understanding that this referral data is NOT the same data being passed in Google Adwords Search Query Reports.