Blekko Cuts User Data Retention to 48 Hours with New Opt-Out Privacy Settings

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Blekko Users Can Also Opt-Out of Ads

Blekko, the new search engine that uses human curation to eliminate spam from search results, today introduced major advances in search privacy:

  • Personal information (such as IP addresses) will be retained a maximum of 48 hours
  • A new HTTPS Preferred® system, which automatically points searchers at HTTPS (secure) websites in many cases
  • SuperPrivacy® and NoAds opt-out privacy settings allows users to suppress ads and reduce logging of search keywords

Data retention of personal information has long been debated in the search community. Other major search engines keep personal information for periods ranging from 6 to 18 months. This data retention creates the risk that a long history of a user's searches might be leaked or stolen, leading to embarrassment or worse. Blekko today has implemented a policy mandating deletion of personal search information within 48 hours. Even for logged-in users, there will be no record of which searches were done by specific users.

The company also announced a new HTTPS Preferred system that will automatically refer blekko users to HTTPS (secure) websites if available when a user clicks on a link in a blekko result. HTTPS is the most secure web browsing experience and is in widespread use on most websites today, especially ecommerce, finance and other sites that may ask for personal information. Automatically redirecting searchers to these most secure sites should enhance security for every search on blekko.

"Blekko provides HTTPS on our own website, but that's not enough to keep our users' information private." said Greg Lindahl, CTO of blekko. "If you're searching a website using insecure WiFi at a café and click on a non-HTTPS Wikipedia link in a search result, anyone nearby could observe what Wikipedia page you are accessing. They could also easily see the search terms you used. But this same search on blekko would ensure that when you click on the Wikipedia link you’ll be protected and your private information secure.”

Additionally, Blekko is offering the strictest opt-out policy in search for blocking advertising with the NoAds privacy setting. This new option lets users search on blekko without advertisements and combined with the SuperPrivacy® option further reduces the already small amount of logging of users' queries by blekko.

"Search engines know too much about their users," Lindahl said. " Our goal at blekko is to find a balance between retaining information to improve our search engine, and not retaining information that a user prefers to keep private."

About Blekko
Blekko was founded in 2007 to pursue innovation in search. The company has raised $24 million since its founding in 2007 from US Venture Partners and CMEA Capital, as well as leading angel investors including Ron Conway, Mike Maples, Jeff Clavier, and Marc Andreessen. Blekko has 25 employees, including former Google and Yahoo! Search engineers.


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Sarah Prejean
SutherlandGold for Blekko
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