8 Out of 10 Websites Will Leak Your Search Data to Google According to This Study

Cybersecurity is a top priority these days, and much of the focus in this arena goes towards mitigating the attempts of malicious actors to hack into user accounts and the like. In spite of the fact that this is the case, major websites are also contributing to the leaking of sensitive user information to online advertisers such as Google. Security experts at Norton Labs recently conducted a study that revealed that about 80% of top websites leak search terms to Google and other similar platforms.

These websites all possess a search bar because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up allowing users to navigate their pages more efficiently. With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that they often send the search terms that users put in to Google for the purposes of earning commissions through third party tracking which has become difficult through applications these days.

A lot of these websites claim that they inform users that their search data will be sold to advertising platforms, but this information is usually contained in the user policy which most people don’t end up reading. 81.3% of the search results that Norton researchers used ended up being referred to third parties, which might make it difficult for users to maintain control over their personal data.

Additionally, the user policies don’t specify what kind of data they will be sharing with third parties. They often use generic terms that will understate the sheer extent of data sharing that is occurring. This leads to a confusing system that the vast majority of users will face a lot of difficulties in parsing.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for the average internet user to maintain an appreciable amount of privacy in their digital lives, and websites that are collaborating with Google and other third parties are making matters worse. Users need to start blocking third party tracking from their browsers or consider switching to more privacy friendly browsers and search engines.

Read next: A Research Publication Reveals That Organizations Are Becoming More Aware of Potential Cybersecurity Threats That Can Be Encountered
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