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April 11, 2016
Search Leaks and Lack of User Privacy
April 11, 2016
In today’s world, by using search engines we can find any information we want just by pressing few keys. The search engine is a great invention and we're all quite used to it. It's become a part of our daily lives as we search for many things we need to know.People mostly use the search engine to seek out the latest news, dresses, research papers to study, solutions for their problems, games, stock market status, political affiliations, celebrities' personal lives, and edgy materials for their personal pleasure (you know what I mean).But, what happens when your searched terms and personal information have been tracked by your search engine and shared with other websites and government agencies? This may raise serious privacy concerns.Many people have privacy concerns, including like being hacked or spied on by governments (remember the very popular NSA surveillance program, XKeyscore, which is revealed by Edward Snowden?). For those who really care about their online privacy and don’t want anybody to spy on their online activity or personal searches have to change the way they use the internet. But first, let’s see what happens when you do a search:When you do a search and click on one of the given links, your search terms are sent to that particular site you clicked on, along with your user agent and IP address, which can easily used to identify your machine. Simply put, it means when you search for something personal, you're sharing that secretive search not only with your search engine, but also with all the websites that you clicked on. Now, that website also knows what you're looking for and where you are.Even your ISP can see your search terms. The search engine stores your history and browser cookies, which contain IP address, user agent, date and time of the search, account information like your name, email address etc.. With this combination of crucial information, you can be easily tracked.If these records or information are leaked out or exposed to others, it could be very embarrassing or cause prodigious harm in your life.To protect your online search privacy, you can do following:1. Change your search engine. Use a search engine that doesn't track or share your IP address or store any information about you. Consider the following private search engines:- www.duckduckgo.com- www.ixquick.com- www.disconnect.me/search 2. Don’t use personally identifying terms while searching.3. Block "cookies."4. Delete your search history after finishing your work.5. Use proxies and VPN.6. Use a combination of Tor (anonymizing software) and a private search engine for full search privacy protection. “PRIVACY IS A BASIC HUMAN RIGHT”