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Friday, March 1, 2019

Search Engines Abuse Your Privacy

Search Engines Abuse Your Privacy – Protect Yourself Now

Search engines collect a lot of personal information to narrow down your search parameters to provide you with the most customized search results – an undeniably beneficial and convenient feature. The problem, however, lies in the amount and sensitivity of the collected information and its alternative uses. One of the downsides of search engines collecting and using data from your devices is that they end up abusing your privacy, whether knowingly or unknowingly. Most people will agree that we cannot afford a breach in our online privacy and those who don’t agree should take a look at life even after of the Snowden Leaks. So, how can you protect yourself from the abuse of your privacy by search engines?

Look into the fine print before using any search engine

One of the worst habits that we share as tech users are that most of us ignore the Privacy Policy of the programs we use, which is also the case for search engines. Although with search engines you don’t get a prompt to read the Privacy Policy, this is something you should look into. Only by understanding the Privacy Policy can you tell whether the search engine poses a threat to your privacy. However, while the Privacy Policy is undoubtedly essential, it is not always a proper guideline since some companies omit some of the finer details.

Seek alternative and secure search engines

Although Google, Yahoo, and Bing are three of the most popular search engines, there exist other options that are even better than these three. Incidentally, Google, Yahoo, and Bing are three of the most notorious search engines in data collection and privacy breach. It may take some work and effort, but a look into the most popular search engines is the best way to find search engines that guarantee your privacy. Not all search engines collect information to customize their search parameters, and while this might affect the quality of the search results, the impact is negligible. Even more so, when you weigh this against the risk of a breach in your privacy and the possible effects. Some of the most secure search engines include; DuckDuckGo, StartPage, and Ixquick.

Protect your network and devices
While search engines collect plenty of sensitive information, that is only possible in cases where the devices and network have poor security. By enhancing the protection of your network and devices, primarily with a focus on online privacy and anonymity, you can limit the data collection significantly. For starters, you need to install a VPN, which should provide sufficient online privacy and some level of anonymity. Additional measures include device encryption and antivirus installation. The ideal antivirus should have features that block or limit the unauthorized collection of information from your device and provide some level of network security.

Improve browser security

Nowadays, search engines and browsers are integrated – a feature intended to enhance the search experience. The downside is that it enhances data collection by exploiting the numerous flaws in browser security. However, you can solve this problem by improving browser security. One of the best ways to do that is by relying on software extensions instead of solely the native software. Take, for instance, ExpressVPN’s native app against the Chrome extension. You’ll notice that the benefits of using ExpressVPN’s Chrome extension far outweigh those of the native app when it comes to browser security.

The Upshot

Search engines are irreplaceable, but that doesn’t mean that we should roll over in the face of atrocity. The abuse of privacy by search engines through the collection of sensitive information poses a serious threat and one that’s impossible to overlook. For this reason, you should look into the ways of protecting your privacy highlighted in this article, and many others that aren’t.