The second communication was also a tweet, confirming what I already revealed in my original blog post: “Our advertising partner can see your IP and query, but if you opt-out then they cannot and you remain completely anonymous”. Yes, if you click the right places you can opt-out of Cuil’s new practice of sending all your search terms and your IP address to some unknown advertising partner.
The third communication was a comment left on my original post by Anna Patterson, Cuil’s President and Founder. She states: “I rewrote it making it less legalistic and shorter. I figured instead of re-stating everything three times in three different ways, I’d just state things once. We still don’t keep track of users.”
While I appreciate Patterson’s forthrightness, her explanation is quite unsatisfactory.
I suppose this claim that Cuil doesn’t “keep any personally identifiable information” is meant to mean the same as the missing “We do not keep logs of our users’ search activity.” That latter statement — so clear and so concise — was apparently removed in the spirit of shortening the policy and purging it of any legalese? I just don’t get it.
UPDATE: I received another tweet from Cuil: “You have good points, and we appreciate the feedback. We’ll be discussing the policy more internally to further clarify.”