You are under surveillance by your search engine

We spend more and more time visiting websites, using search engines and filling in personal information online. It is a natural part of being a modern person and it ensures that we can keep up to date with news, YouTube trends, Twitter, Facebook and to email each other. However, there is a flipside to the coin which is surveillance and monitoring. We are all subject to increasing levels of surveillance and monitoring, which can be minimised or in some cases prevented, by following some simple advice.

 

Three examples of search engines

Originally, search engines were like archives, like those we know from libraries. They were simply indexes of what was on the Internet. This meant that you had to make very accurate searches to find what you were looking for. The first search engines to become popular were Yahoo, Altavista and Netscape. Google revolutionized Internet searches with their intelligent algorithms which can target searches by incorporating other data about the user into the search criteria, including nationality and internet habits.

 

1: Google

There are different search engines online and the most popular by far is Google. Google is intelligent and remembers your previous searches so that you can easily find what you are looking for. The negative implication of this, is that when Google helps you by remembering previous searches, all of your data is stored, thus making a record of all of your searches and everything you do online. If you want more privacy when using Google, you can delete your search history by going into settings and deleting the history. However, deleting your history is not a guarantee that none of your information will be saved. Google has made a step by step guide to deleting your activities. You can read it here.

 

2: DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo is a search engine which does not save your searches and thus ensures that you always browse anonymously online. DuckDuckGo is a good alternative to the more well-known search engines. Users can search for maps, images or websites, just as in other search engines. What some users find annoying is that by ensuring your anonymity, your searches will not be customized to your needs and therefore it may take longer to find what you’re looking for.

 

3: Bing

The Microsoft Search Engine Bing also gives users the opportunity to delete previous searches. The difference between Bing and Google is that Bing uses an algorithm which focuses more on results from social media sites. Bing works just as well as Google, but often produces differing results because the two companies choose to focus on different areas of the Internet and therefore appeal to different audiences.

 

Five specialized search engines

If you want general knowledge then Google, DuckDuckGo and Yahoo! are popular choices, but there are other search engines available which help to focus your search on internet archives, research materials and other specific topics.

 

1: DogPile

DogPile has been as popular as Google for many years among some users. The DogPile search engine searches through the most popular search engines and gives you their hits so you do not have to search more places. DogPile tracks and saves your searches.

 

2: Google Scholar

Google Scholar is Google’s search engine that focuses on research. Using this search engine, you can find research results from masters theises, PhD dissertations and anything else from the academic world. Much like the regular Google, Google Scholar also stores information about you.

 

3: The Internet Archive

Here you can find extracts of old websites via The Way Back Machine and also search for public domain content. This means that you can use and copy all content contained herein without violating U.S. copyright law. Please note that the same rules do not always apply in other countries. The Internet Archive does not save your searches or trace your activity in other ways.

 

4: Yippy

Yippy searches in other search engines for you and is thus a kind of meta search engine, or deep web engine. The term Deep Web implies that there are some results, so to speak, at the bottom of the pile of online information, so it is a great help to use a search engine that is particularly good at finding these. Yippy automatically blocks content that is not suitable for children and has personally-protected searches where you are not personally traced with name, behavior, etc., Yippy does however store information about your computer, for example your IP address.

 

5: Webopedia

Webopedia is a kind of reference book where users can search for knowledge about computers and technology. You can search for a number of terms which you have heard but do not understand and get an easy-to-understand explanation of what each term means.

 

Which should I choose?

Which search engine you choose should depend on how important anonymity is for you and ultimately what you are searching for. As a starting point, it is recommended that you switch between them and test which one matches your needs. Some people choose to use many search engines for the same search to get the desired search results.  Always keep your drivers and programs updated, as computers with outdated software are more likely to be under surveillance and suffer cyberattacks. DriverScanner is a tool that scan your drivers for outdated versions, and allows you to update them with just one click.

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