Edward Snowden. Equifax. Apple and the FBI. Carpenter v. United States. Digital privacy is big. People are worried about protecting their data from hackers, companies and government organizations. Every time a company, like Equifax or Yahoo, leaks user data, people become less trusting of anyone with access to their sensitive information. Using a VPN or a private search engine is becoming more popular.
According to Google Trends, interest in “digital privacy” reached its highest point in the last year during the week of Nov. 26 — Dec. 2.
Within the last six months, the most popular private search engines have seen substantial increases in traffic. People are worried about their private data getting into the wrong hands. Big search engines have a creepily complete idea about who its users are, because of the massive amounts of data they collect. Google has information about user’s locations, email addresses, names, and tons more. If that data gets leaked, there will be a mass movement to private search engines.
Private Search Engines
DuckDuckGo – The Search Engine That Doesn’t Track You
DuckDuckGo has established its name in the world of digital privacy. It has seen substantial growth in the last five years, and especially in the last six months. The company’s CEO, Gabriel Weinberg, announced at the beginning of 2017 that the company had served its 10 billionth search. To put this in perspective, Google serves more than 3.5 billion searches per day. So DuckDuckGo and other search engines that don’t track you are still quite small. However, they are still processing bigger numbers than ever before.
StartPage – The World’s Most Private Search Engine
StartPage is a search engine that doesn’t track your searches. Ixquick created StartPage from their original search engine, but added results sourced from Google. If you use Google now but want to avoid tracking, StartPage may be a good private search engine for you.
The New York Times just featured StartPage’s CEO, Robert Beens. He says that without net neutrality, private search engines like his won’t be able to compete with “deep pocketed competitors like Google, Bing and Yahoo”.
Search Encrypt – The Privacy Based Search Engine
Search Encrypt is a privacy-based search engine. It is available at SearchEncrypt.com or as a browser extension. The extension adds an additional protection by redirecting searches that may track you to its encrypted private search engine. It doesn’t track your search history in any user identifiable way. Search Encrypt uses privacy by design to offer perfect forward secrecy.
Read More: How Does Search Encrypt Work?
Gibiru – Uncensored Anonymous Search Engine
Gibiru started in 2009 by a group of internet privacy advocates. It calls itself the “preferred Search Engine for Patriots.” It calls other search engines, especially ones that track users, NSA search engines. Gibiru claims to be faster than big search engines because it doesn’t user personalization or tracking cookies. Gibiru is an uncensored, anonymous search engine. In the past six months its Alexa ranking increased from around 300,000 to close to 200,000.
Why Use a Private Search Engine?
When anyone searches the web with one of the major search engines, they are being tracked. Most search tools profit from the data they acquire from users. Search terms aren’t the only thing that these companies keep track of. They also use other products, like maps or email providers to gather other information about user identities and behavior. We think that this shouldn’t be the norm.
There is risk involved every time data is transmitted between multiple parties. For search engines, this information paints a complete picture of each user. Private search engines, however, don’t track or store user information, which means the risk of losing this information to hackers, ISPs, or government agencies is almost zero.