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DisPA: An Intelligent Agent for Private WebSearch

Search queries can be used to infer preferences and interests of users. While search engines use this information for, among others, targeted advertising and personalization, these tasks can violate user’s privacy. In 2006, after AOL disclosed the search queries of 650,000 users and some of them were re-identified, many Privacy Enhancement Technologies (PETs) have sought to solve this problem. The Dissociating Privacy Agent (DisPA), is a browser extension that acts as a proxy between the user and the search engine and semantically dissociates queries on real time. We show that DisPA increases the privacy of the user and hinders re-identification. We also propose an algorithm to measure and evaluate the privacy properties offered by DisPA.

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