Searching for privacy: Design and implementation of a P3P-enabled search engine

Simon Byers, Lorrie Faith Cranor, Dave Kormann, Patrick McDaniel

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Although the number of online privacy policies is increasing, it remains difficult for Internet users to understand them, let alone to compare policies across sites or identify sites with the best privacy practices. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) developed the Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P1.0) specification to provide a standard computer-readable format for privacy policies. This standard enables web browsers and other user agents to interpret privacy policies on behalf of their users. This paper introduces our prototype P3P-enabled Privacy Bird Search engine. Users of this search service are given visual indicators of the privacy policies at sites included in query results. Our system acts as a front end to a general search engine by evaluating the P3P policies associated with search results against a user's privacy preference settings. To improve system performance we cache unexpired P3P policy information (including information about the absence of P3P policies) for thousands of the most popular sites as well as for sites that have been returned in previous search results. We discuss the system architecture and its implementation, and consider the work necessary to evolve our prototype into a fully functional and efficient service.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-328
Number of pages15
JournalLecture Notes in Computer Science
StatePublished - 2005
Event4th International Workshop on Privacy Enhancing Technologies, PET 2004 - Toronto, Ont., Canada
Duration: May 26 2004May 28 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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