Personalization is a key part of Internet search, providing more relevant results and gaining loyal customers in the process.
But new research highlights the privacy risks that this kind of personalization can bring. A team of European researchers,
working with a researcher from the University of California, Irvine, found that they were able to hijack Google's personalized search
suggestions to reconstruct users' Web search histories.
Google has plugged most of the holes identified in the research, but the researchers say that other personalized services are
likely to have similar vulnerabilities. "The goal of this project was to show that personalized services are very dangerous in terms
of privacy because they can leak information," says Claude Castelluccia, a senior research scientist at the French National Institute
for Research in Computer Science and Control, who was involved with the work. The work will be presented this summer at the
Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium in Berlin, Germany.