Are You Still Using a Pre-Snowden Search Engine?
Did you know that every time you use a regular search engine, your search data is recorded? Major search engines, including Google, Bing, Yahoo, and almost all the rest, capture your IP address every time you visit and use tracking cookies to make a record of your search terms, the time of your visit, and the links you choose. Then they store that information in a giant database where it becomes available both to the search engine employees as well as to any other corporation that is willing to purchase that information.
Your searches reveal a shocking amount of personal information about you, such as your interests, family circumstances, political leanings, medical conditions, and more. This information is a modern-day gold mine for marketers, black-hat hackers and criminals, as well as for the None Such Agency (NSA).
If you would prefer to protect your privacy, there is no quick and easy solution that will block 100% of the online snoops all the time. However, you can reduce the risks somewhat by using a search engine that does not collect information about you: StartPage.com.
StartPage.com claims that it it does not store your IP address, tracking cookies, your search terms, the time of your visit, or the links you choose. Quoting the Startpage.com web site:
“StartPage, and its sister search engine Ixquick, are the only third-party certified search engines in the world that do not record your IP address or track your searches.”
I have no way of verifying that claim but suspect the search engine does live up to the claims. In any case, I think I would rather use a search engine that claims to protect my privacy instead of a search engine that I know is collecting my personal data!
You can learn more about StartPage.com’s privacy claims at https://startpage.com/eng/protect-privacy.html.
To use the privacy-protected search engine, go to https://startpage.com. You can also change your web browser’s settings to use https://startpage.com as your browser’s start page. It will then be the first page that displays every time you launch the web browser.
In addition, you might like to read the article about online privacy at https://startpage.com/eng/press/dataprivacy.html.
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Dick: I’ve been using https://encrypted.google.com for years. A waste of time?
—> A waste of time?
Probably. Both https://encrypted.google.com and the regular http://www.google.com collect all sorts of personal information about you. Using https://encrypted.google.com simply provides an encrypted connection between you and Google where nobody else can see what you are sending and receiving. However, once your query arrives at Google, everything remains the same as always. Google will still capture your IP address every time you visit and use tracking cookies to make a record of your search terms, the time of your visit, and the links you choose.