Privacy Issues of the Internet Search Engines - In the Light of EU Data Protection Legislation

Zsuzsanna Bódogh

Abstract

Nowadays we use the internet as our main source of information and the search engines such as the Google to lead us through the labyrinth of websites in order to find the certain piece of information we are looking for. And because we can find almost everything we want and because asking a computer - believing that we remain unidentifiable - is sometimes easier than asking a real person, we venture into this labyrinth more and more bravely and deeply. Our search queries, which are systematically logged and stored by the search engines, show the wide range of our interests, intentions, desires often kept secret even from the closest friends and relatives. 
   If the data stored by the search engines operators about the searches conducted by us made us identifiable, the pieces of our search history would be considered to be personal data, even sensitive personal data and should be treated as such. 
   But is that really the case? And if so, what do the search engine operators do to save our privacy? 
   The paper introduces the types of data processed and the privacy problems caused by the internet search engines and the lawfulness of their data processing activities in the light of the EU Data Protection Directive.

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