PrivacySearch - An end-user and query generalization tool for privacy enhancement in web search

Francisco Javier Rodrigo-Ginés, Javier Parra-Arnau, Weizhi Meng, Yu Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Web search engines capitalize on, or lend themselves to, the construction of user interest profiles to provide personalized search results. The lack of transparency about what information is stored, how it is used and with whom it is shared, limits the perception of privacy that users have about the search service. In this paper, we investigate a technology that allows users to replace specific queries with more general but semantically similar search terms. Through the generalization of queries, user profile could become less precise and therefore more private, although evidently at the expense of a degradation in the accuracy of search results. In this work, we design and develop a tool of PrivacySearch that implements this principle in real practice. Our tool, developed as a browser plug-in for Google Chrome, enables users to generalize the queries sent to a search engine in an automated fashion, without the need for any kind of infrastructure or external databases, and in real time, according to simple and intuitive privacy criteria. Experimental results demonstrate the technical feasibility and suitability of our solution.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNetwork and System Security
EditorsMan Ho Au, Xiapu Luo, Jin Li, Kamil Kluczniak, Siu Ming Yiu, Cong Wang, Aniello Castiglione
Publication date1 Jan 2018
ISBN (Print)9783030027438
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
Event12th International Conference on Network and System Security - Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China
Duration: 27 Aug 201829 Aug 2018
Conference number: 12


Conference12th International Conference on Network and System Security
LocationHong Kong Polytechnic University
CityHong Kong
SeriesLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)


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