Is Your Search Engine Stalking You?

January 23, 2024

Introduction

You may know that certain web browsers provide better privacy against trackers and spies as you search online. Others may work faster but run programs in the background that you don’t even know about.

Just like you need to do research before choosing the right web browser for you, it’s just as critical to remember: Some search engines will track you around the web.

Wait, seriously?

Search Engines Can Search You Back

Search engines are an essential part of our online lives. They provide a wealth of information at our fingertips. Unfortunately, many search engines track their users’ search queries, browsing history and even location information! Would you want everything you do online?

Cookies track your online activity for many legitimate reasons: They allow browsers to show you targeted ads based on past searches, purchases, what’s appealing to other people your age in the area, and lots more. Think about it: Have you ever searched “school supplies” one time and then been haunted by ads for pencil cases the rest of the year?

OK, maybe you haven’t had that exact experience…but you’ve likely encountered something similarly eerie. Parents can attest to shopping for baby clothes and finding strollers advertised on their social media websites. The rumor abounds that talking about something will trigger Instagram ads next time you log on. Even different devices will share search results if you’re logged into the same web browser on both!

Protecting Yourself From Search Trackers

It’s important to note that search engines aren’t the only ones who might track your online activity. Third-parties are just as capable of illegally spying on you via insecure browsers, search engines and websites.

Protect your privacy when you’re surfing the World Wide Web!

  • Choose better browsers. Different Internet browsers actually come equipped to block certain trackers while you navigate the web.
  • Use a private search engine: There are a number of private search engines that do not track your activity. Some popular options include DuckDuckGo, Startpage, and Swisscows.
  • Clear your search history regularly: Most search engines allow you to clear your search history, either manually or automatically. This will prevent the search engine from storing records of your past searches.
  • Use a VPN: A VPN can encrypt your internet traffic and make it more difficult for search engines to track your activity.
  • Be mindful of your privacy settings: Most search engines allow you to adjust your privacy settings. Be sure to review these settings and make sure that you are comfortable with the level of data that the search engine is collecting.

Search engines are a very important aspect of daily life, but that doesn’t mean you have to give over your privacy to them. Use anonymous search engines and even VPNs to add a little bit of extra privacy to your web activity! By taking these steps, you can help to protect your privacy and keep your online activity more secure.

Conclusion

Search engines get us to our favorite websites, provide resources to further research topics that interest us, bring our posts to interested parties, and helps us connect to content made all around the world! Help keep your Internet activity private by using safer web browsers and search engines that keep your data security in mind.

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