How To Protect Yourself From Search Tracking & Leakage? Private Search Engines Options

Privacy Issues

Internet user tracking is a sensitive issue nowadays. More and more sites and apps store info related to their users, built profiles and try to monetize them. We are overwhelmed by targeted ads, suggested posts and other profile related messages. The online activity that probably reveals the most info about you is searching. Learn about the search engine tracking, search leakage and private search engines.

How can a search engine track you?

When you perform a search using a search engine you share important info (like your IP address and the User Agent – information that may identify you directly) with the search engine you are using.

The collected info is usually used for ad targeting and other types of user profiling, but it may also be used to track your online activities.

Search engine profiles can include information about your:

  • Age, sex, location, address.
  • Salary, last purchases, bank name.
  • Facebook profile, Twitter account, email account, social media tags.
  • Political tendencies, beliefs, medical conditions.

What is search leakage?

Moreover, the search terms are sent over to the site you clicked on. Thus, when you do a search you are sharing the search info not only with your search engine, but also with all the sites that you are visiting. That is called search leakage.

Search leakage and search engine tracking can be prevented by using a private search engine like DuckDuckGo or by hiding your IP address using Tor, a VPN service or even Tor over VPN.

What are private search engines?

Private search engines are those search sites that:

  • Protect you from search leakage.
  • Don’t store your personal information (like the IP address).
  • Do not store your search history.
  • Don’t track you in any other way.

By using such a search engine your online identity is protected and you may search anything you want without the fear to be tracked.

Private search engines options

Yes, you have options. There are several search engines that claim that they do not store any info regarding your searches or related to your identity. However, it is hard to verify those claims, so use them on your own risk.

DuckDuckGo

Private Search Engines - DuckDuckGo
DuckDuckGo is the preferred search engine by many users concerned about their privacy and anonymity. It serves more than 10 Million searches a day. DuckDuckGo distinguishes itself from other search engines by not profiling its users and by showing all users the same search results for a given search term.

DuckDuckGo’s privacy page is very clear: DuckDuckGo does not collect or share personal information. Plus, it prevents search leakage by default.

DuckDuckGo shows ads that are not related to user profiles and they can be disabled.

Ixquick/Startpage

Private Search Engines - Ixquick StartpageIxquick shows Google Search results with privacy protection. According to the privacy policy, Ixquick does not record or share the IP address of any of the visitors.

Ixquick/StartPage prevents the search leakage of your search terms to third parties by using the so called POST method by default instead of the GET method, which is used by many other search providers.

A great feature of Ixquick is that offers browsing through a proxy server to help protect you from websites tracking your IP address.

Oscobo

Private Search Engines - Oscobo
Oscobo is an anonymous search engine that allows no tracking of info related to its users. It also offers a Chrome extension for making searches.

Their privacy policy states:

We DO NOT store ANY data on our users:

you use our site.
NOT when you leave.
NOT when you type words in the search box.
NOT when you come back.

No cookies, No tracking, No IP, nuttin…., zip…, nada….

Do you use private search engines? What is your favorite?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

 

1 comment… add one
  • joym Aug 8, 2017

    Duckduckgo is the one everybody should use!

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