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Web users: Don't

store query records

Most Americans are uncomfortable with the fact that Internet search engines record their users' queries, according to a survey that examined perceptions about federal authorities' demands for such records.

Search engine companies recently sparked the debate by responding differently to the Justice Department's subpoena for records on what their users had been looking up.

Google Inc. refused to comply, citing privacy along with a desire to protect its trade secrets. But Yahoo Inc. and other rivals have handed over their data, which the government says will be useful in an online pornography crackdown.

Equally contentious, however, is whether the search engine providers should be storing such records.

In the new survey of 800 Americans by the University of Connecticut, 60 percent said they opposed the storage of users' search queries. Just 32 percent supported the practice, which the companies say is necessary to improve the performance of their services.

Similarly, when asked whether the government should monitor the Internet search behavior of "ordinary Americans," 65 percent said no and 30 percent said yes.

Event gives seniors

computer training

The fourth Computer Conference for Older Adults will be held at 9 a.m. March 15 at the Sunshine Multi-Purpose Senior Center, 330 Fifth St. N, St. Petersburg.

Speakers will be Dave Dockery of the Tampa Bay Computer Society and Nick Cox of the Stetson University College of Law. Workshops include Introduction to Computers; E-mail: Basics and Beyond; Travel on the Internet; and Digital Photography. Reservations are required by March 10. Send a check for $15 to the city of St. Petersburg Office on Aging, 330 Fifth St. N, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. For information, call Nancy Skirchak at (727) 893-7102.

Compiled from staff and wire reports.