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In Our Google Searches, Researchers See a Post-Snowden Chilling Effect

Posted on May 8th, 2014 at 4:20 by Sueyourdeveloper in category: News -- Write a comment


While searches for government-sensitive terms dropped in the US, the data indicates only a minor drop in US-based “privacy-related” searches–the sort that might get you in trouble with friends or family (see examples below).

Outside of the US—the researchers also looked at searches from the US’s top ten trading partners—they found that Google users tended to search less both on government-sensitive search terms like “anthrax” (those searches dropped by 1.1 percentage points) but also on personally-sensitive terms like “eating disorder” (those searches saw a nearly 1.6% decline), even as less sensitive terms showed a general rise. The trend was led by searches in the United Kingdom and Canada, and, to a lesser extent, by France, Mexico, Japan, Brazil and China.

I confess. I squinted at the graphs and I can’t see much of a change.

I liked that the list of naughty terms includes pork and influenza. I caught a cold at a pig roast.

  1. What level of detail does this research show regarding search terms. I’m wondering if my search on e-bay for “Nuclear Triggers” is in the data anywhere. I hate to think my enquiries are being ignored.

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