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Microsoft Cracks Personalization Without Prying

'Bloom filters' add flower to cookies for personal search without tracking

A team of Microsoft researchers has developed an algorithm capable of eliminating user tracking in Web search, without the overheads of existing technology.

Credit: Shutterstock

A new algorithm developed by Microsoft researchers can eliminate user tracking in Web searches without the overheads of existing technology.

The new type of flowery cookie can tightly encode user profiles to preserve privacy without cutting off online personalization services. Called Bloom Cookies, the technology would use Bloom filters to score a better tradeoff between privacy, personalization, and network efficiency than profile generalization and noise injection, which are two curernt profile obfuscation techniques, note the researchers.

"Noise injection can address these problems, but only at the cost of a high communication overhead and a noise dictionary generated by a trusted third party," the researchers say.

The filters are space-efficient structures used to confirm elements as parts of a set in a way that eliminates false negatives. "They provide similar or better personalization and privacy than noise injection and profile generalization, but with an order of magnitude lower communication cost and no noise dictionary," say the University of California's Nitesh Mor and John Kubiatowicz, and Microsoft Research's Oriana Riva and Suman Nath.

From The Register (UK)
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