Don’t duck the issue – consider your privacy and search engines

24 February 2021  PRIVACY TIPS

Is your search engine tracking and saving your every query? If this sounds like an invasion of your privacy, give them the slip by using a privacy-friendly alternative.

Thanks to the ubiquitous search engine, we can freely and easily get relevant answers to persistent questions like “How do I make a time machine?” and “What does a mole look like from the neck down?”

But online privacy suffers at the convenience of “free”, “easy”, and “relevant”.

How to determine if sacrificing your privacy is worth it

Here are 3 questions to help you determine if the convenience of your search engine is truly worth it.

Am I ok with revealing my medical history to strangers?

We’ve all done it, searched online for answers to intimate questions about our health, relationships, and finances. Many search engines not only save that info but also share it with their advertisers.

Do I like it when ads track me everywhere?

With the help of various hidden techniques, like embedded cookies and favicons, a search engine’s advertising network is able to track you well after you’ve left the search page. That’s why if you search for “jeans”, jeans ads will be all over you like a bad rash.

Do I need customized results for this particular search?

Sometimes the convenience of results tailored to your preferences or current location, like a nearby restaurant that caters to your diet, is worth it – and that’s ok. Consider using one search engine for those queries and a privacy-friendly one for everything else.

DuckDuckGo – a privacy-friendly search alternative

If you’re interested in taking back some of your online privacy, then check out DuckDuckGo.

Although its name falls short of becoming a verb – “I DuckDuckGo’d that movie you told me about!” – it ticks the boxes for keeping searches private:

  • DuckDuckGo’s privacy policy states that it “does not collect or share personal information.”
  • DuckDuckGo does make money from ads. However, since they don’t save your search history, the ads are generated only from your current search.
  • DuckDuckGo doesn’t use tracking cookies.

Remember, reclaiming your online privacy can’t be achieved with one magical tool. It’s about replacing your habits and tools with more privacy-focused options.

Motivated to take the next step? Choose from our list of simple, privacy-friendly actions.

For the universal right to privacy,
Mullvad VPN