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Questioning Google's Privacy Reform 134

JagsLive makes note of a story questioning whether Google's recent commitment to anonymize IP logs faster is really as good as it sounds. We discussed their announcement a few days ago. CNet's Chris Soghoian takes a closer look: "While the company hasn't said how it de-identifies the cookies, it has revealed in public statements that its IP anonymization technique consists of chopping off the last 8 bits of a user's IP address. As an example, an IP address of a home user could be After 18 months, Google chops this down to 173.192.103.XXX. Since each octet (the numbers between each period of an IP) can contain values from 1-255, Google's anonymization technique allows a user, at most, to hide among 254 other computers. ... Google has now revealed that it will change "some" of the bits of the IP address after 9 months, but less than the eight bits that it masks after the full 18 months. Thus, instead of Google's customers being able to hide among 254 other Internet users, perhaps they'll be able to hide among 64, or 127 other possible IP addresses. By itself, this is a laughable level of anonymity. However, it gets worse."

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