Posted By Jonathan on March 11, 2013
Being a software savvy kind of person, I think that this is something I should begin to address. The overall goal of Homesteading (when you think about it) is to remove yourself as far as possible from the system. This should extend from food, security and satisfaction to the online world as well.
Believe it or not, every time you utilize any of the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, and Bing just to name a few), your data is being used against you. Everything from your search words, your address on the Internet, the time of day you search and more are collected, data mined and sold to third parties (which can often be law enforcement).
The most prevalent form of privacy abuse comes from selling your data to marketers. Firms that specialize in identifying trends in the population so as to sell more product are using your data even as you read this.
So how can you get away from all of this?
Start by switching search engines. I give you Start Page. Start Page is a search engine that actually utilizes Google to perform your search, yet strips out all of the information that would identify you. On top of that, they do not record any information about you! I have switched to them 100% now.
They also encrypt all of the data that you send them and that they send you. You can tell this because of the way the URL looks in your browser. It shows as ‘https’ rather than ‘http’. ‘https’ simply means that your browser traffic for the site you are on is encrypted. Not even your ISP knows what you are doing.
If you would like to further anonymize your web experience, you can utilize their proxy service when viewing web pages you have searched for. Rather than clicking on the main link for the site in the search results, click on ‘View by Ixquick Proxy’ instead. This will make your visit to that webpage completely anonymous. Everything is encrypted and it essentially just looks like Start Page itself is viewing the web page, rather than yourself.
You can also add Start Page to your browser so that you can search directly from your browser instead of going to https://startpage.com. There should be a link below the Start Page search box called ‘Add to Firefox’ or ‘Add to IE’, depending on your browser. Just click that and follow the instructions. Its very easy.
I believe that privacy is something to be cherished. It is a silent form of power and if we all start taking steps to enhance our privacy, our lives will greatly improve. Particularly on the Internet, simply because no one will know what you are interested in. Even if you are aware of the manipulation, 1 time in 100 you may fall for an ad that has been crafted just for you. With Start Page in your arsenal this won’t happen.