Preserving user's privacy in web search engines

Jordi Castellà-Roca, Alexandre Viejo, Jordi Herrera-Joancomartí

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


Web search engines (e.g. Google, Yahoo, Microsoft Live Search, etc.) are widely used to find certain data among a huge amount of information in a minimal amount of time. However, these useful tools also pose a privacy threat to the users: web search engines profile their users by storing and analyzing past searches submitted by them. To address this privacy threat, current solutions propose new mechanisms that introduce a high cost in terms of computation and communication. In this paper we present a novel protocol specially designed to protect the users' privacy in front of web search profiling. Our system provides a distorted user profile to the web search engine. We offer implementation details and computational and communication results that show that the proposed protocol improves the existing solutions in terms of query delay. Our scheme provides an affordable overhead while offering privacy benefits to the users. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1541-1551
JournalComputer Communications
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2009


  • Cryptography
  • Privacy
  • Private information retrieval
  • Web search


Dive into the research topics of 'Preserving user's privacy in web search engines'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this