LjSEEK.COM and Privacy

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LjSEEK.COM and Privacy

Recently we've been getting lot of questions and requests regarding privacy. The privacy is extremely important to us. Usually journal owners appreciate their posts to be searchable, which increases journal audience allows to find more friends and get more comments, some however would like to limit visibility. But how do you discover what journal owner really wants ?

This is tough question to solve - if you take a look at search engines - these would index any page they find on the Internet, unless special tags are used or special file (robots.txt) created to forbid them doing so.

In RSS, which we use for indexing, there are no such tags, so many blog search engines would simply index everything. As we only index LiveJournal journals we can do it better - we check if user had set "Minimize your journal's inclusion in search engine results" and do not index such journals. This method is however not 100% reliable. First - we can't catch changes in this setting at once - due to large number of Users at LiveJournal we only check this flag when we add new journal to index and about once per month. You also can use Journal Tools Page to update it. This way also does not work with some custom LiveJournal page designs.

Indexing Friend-Only or Private Entries.

At this point we simply do not do it and we even could not do it if we'd like. LiveJournal protects your data reliably at our best knowledge. We would have to ask your password to be able to index private and friends only posts. If you find some private or friend only data in the journal this must be data which was public and only later was made private. We're using RSS interface to get information updates and we simply have no way to discover if some post become private/friend only. If this is a concern for you drop us a note, listing which posts you need to be removed and we'll try to help you.

Information re-publishing.

We always try to follow fair-use principle when re-publishing information. In search results we only display snippets so users are directed to your journal for full posts. We also have "Cached" version page which show full post, which is done for convenience purposes allowing us to show version which we have in the database (which might be updated since then) as well as highlight matching terms. This is quite similar to what Major search engines do with web site pages. We also do not show any advertisements on cached page.

Future Improvements.

We'll soon add user registration feature which would allow users upon registration and confirmation of ownership of certain journal allow to control its state in our database. One would be able to enable/disable indexing independent from global LiveJournal settings, block display of cached version or snippets, remove posts which you would not like to be visible. Stay tuned.

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2005-09-21 LjSEEK.COM and Privacy
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