Protecting your Search Privacy

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 24, 2006
Updated • May 1, 2013
Internet, Search

Searchenginewatch published a rather large article about protecting your search privacy today. They provide a step-by-step guide on how your search privacy gets exposed when you visit websites on the Internet using your web browser of choice. They divided the article into six chapters beginning with Search Privacy On Your Own Computer and ending with a conclusion that gives you valuable tips on how to protect your search privacy.

With recent announcements that want to force the search engines to reveal what is searched by whom this article should be a must read.

Lets take a look at the available chapters:

1. Search Privacy On Your Own Computer

This basically looks at what your own computer can reveal about your searches, if you do not clear the search history regularly. This not only includes the search history, or the browser cache, but also other caches like the drop down cache of the Internet browser used, or the drop drop menu of toolbars.

2. Search Privacy & Your ISP

According to the guide, the weakest link is the ISP, at all traffic flows through the Internet Service Providers servers before it reaches the destination. Options here include using a proxy or virtual private network, or SSL search to avoid this from happening. SSL Search protects the search terms from being readable by the ISP, but not the resulting pages.

3. Search Privacy & Your Search Engine

Search engines keep track of every search and action you make on their sites. While you can prevent the recording of history and tracking, it may be easier to use an anonymizer like TOR to avoid this altogether.

4. Search Privacy & Your Personalized Results

Explains how to get rid of some search history, while keeping the other. Private browsing, while non existent at the time of writing, might be an option. Or manually deleting part of the search history.

5. Search Privacy & Sites You Visit / Tracking Services

Referrer information are submitted to the site you visit from the search engine pages. This can be prevented again with SSL search. Google for instance blocks keywords and search terms if you use their SSL search engine.


Tutorials & Tips

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