The Search Engine That Doesn’t Track You

Are you aware that most of the Internet’s search engines track you and collect your web surfing activities?

One oddly-named search engine works to protect your privacy. In fact, the use of DuckDuckGo is exploding.

DuckDuckGo is an Internet search engine that emphasizes protecting searchers’ privacy and avoiding the “filter bubble” of personalized search results. DuckDuckGo obtains its data from multiple search engines and organizes the results in a manner that is believed to be closer to the search terms specified than the results obtained from any other single search engine. The results are filtered and organized to reduce spam.

When you do a search from DuckDuckGo’s website or one of its mobile apps, it doesn’t know who you are. There are no user accounts. Your IP address isn’t logged by default. The site doesn’t use search cookies to keep track of what you do over time or where else you go online. It doesn’t save your search history. When you click on a link in DuckDuckGo’s results, those websites won’t see which search terms you used. The company even has its own Tor exit relay, allowing Tor users to search DuckDuckGo with less of a performance lag.

The web site does display ads. After all, they have to pay the bills somehow. However, the ads you see are not based on the terms you specified in the search and therefore do not peer into your private actions.

The company’s privacy policy at https://duckduckgo.com/privacy states:

“At other search engines, when you do a search and then click on a link, your search terms are sent to that site you clicked on (in the HTTP referrer header). We call this sharing of personal information ‘search leakage.’

“For example, when you search for something private, you are sharing that private search not only with your search engine, but also with all the sites that you clicked on (for that search).

“In addition, when you visit any site, your computer automatically sends information about it to that site (including your User agent and IP address). This information can often be used to identify you directly.

So when you do that private search, not only can those other sites know your search terms, but they can also know that you searched it. It is this combination of available information about you that raises privacy concerns.

“DuckDuckGo prevents search leakage by default. Instead, when you click on a link on our site, we route (redirect) that request in such a way so that it does not send your search terms to other sites. The other sites will still know that you visited them, but they will not know what search you entered beforehand.”

The full privacy policy goes on at some length. You can find all of it at https://duckduckgo.com/privacy.

You can try private searches yourself at https://duckduckgo.com. After all, it is free.

2 thoughts on “The Search Engine That Doesn’t Track You

  1. I’ve been using only this search engine for quite a long time now. It seems at least as good as others at searching, protects your privacy as described above, and also has a much cleaner presentation of results than others. It does produce some paid-for results at the top of the list, but labels them as such clearly. What more could you ask?

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