Enhancing customer privacy while searching for products and services on the World Wide Web

Yuval Elovici, Chanan Glezer, Bracha Shapira

Internet Research 15 (4), 378-399, 2005

To propose a model of a privacy‐enhanced catalogue search system (PECSS) in an attempt to address privacy threats to consumers, who search for products and services on the world wide web.The model extends an agent‐based architecture for electronic catalogue mediation by supplementing it with a privacy enhancement mechanism. This mechanism introduces fake queries into the original stream of user queries, in an attempt to reduce the similarity between the actual interests of users (“internal user profile”) and the interests as observed by potential eavesdroppers on the web (“external user profile”). A prototype was constructed to demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of the model.The evaluation of the model indicates that, by generating five fake queries per each original user query, the user’s profile is hidden most effectively from any potential …