One Google Hack Will Cause Move to Private Search Engines
People assume that since Google is the biggest, and likely most advanced, internet company in the world, it is immune to hacks or data breaches. Google has extensive privacy protection programs. However, if someone finds a vulnerability in Google without reporting it, they could have access users’ information. This data includes user’s search behavior. This threat doesn’t exist with private search engines.
What do you have to hide?
Some people really don’t care if their web search data is released. For others the stakes are incredibly high. For public figures, like celebrities and politicians, and information leak could ruin their reputation.
Your Email Is Not Private
Emails, even if they sat unopened in your inbox are openly available, as it stands.
NPR explains, “Email is not entirely protected. With a court order that doesn’t reach probable cause, Google will give up your name, IP address, the dates and times you’re signing in and out, and with whom you’re exchanging emails.”
NPR also sheds light on another issue. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 is meant to protect Americans and their internet communications. However, “the government has interpreted the law to mean that once your emails are opened or older than 180 days, no warrant is required.”
Those who want to use email privately can use ProtonMail, a privacy-based email platform based in Switzerland. Swiss privacy laws are among the strictest in the world. The NSA and other agencies in the U.S. cannot access emails within ProtonMail.
Founder of ProtonMail, Andy Yen, says, “We encrypt the data on the browser before it comes to the server. By the time the data comes to the server it’s already encrypted, so if someone comes to us and says we’d like to read the emails of the person, all we can say is we have the encrypted data but we’re sorry we don’t have the encryption key and we can’t give you the encryption key.”
Search Encrypt takes a similar approach with its search data. We encrypt your search terms locally, with a multi-layer encryption method. Our products offer perfect forward secrecy, so after your search is done, all your information, identifiable or not, goes away.
Your Search Behavior Reveals Personal Information
While Googling a restaurant to check their hours, or searching for a movie title to see its rating are meaningless, other searches could reveal sensitive information.
If you are searching for information about medical treatment or other private issues, your reputation could suffer if that information was leaked to the public. These leaks could lead to you losing your job, or losing your credibility if you’re a public figure.
These are the kinds of breaches that private web search tools, like Search Encrypt, avoid. Regardless of how a hacker comes at your information, whether remotely or locally accessing your computer, your searches are totally private with Search Encrypt.
Privacy Is A Requirement, Not a Feature
The internet has so much information floating around, that a breach into a company like Google could release sensitive data about millions of people. Privacy has to be built into websites, software and operating systems and not added as an afterthought.
Unfortunately laws and regulations on internet privacy vary state-to-state and even more from country-to-country. The Federal Trade Commission releases reports explaining the best practices for protecting user data. However, these reports are not laws, so companies are often left to make decisions on their own.
It is in a company’s best interest to protect user data at all cost. Not doing so could harm their reputation, and as a result cause people to take their business elsewhere.
Being Safe Is A Choice
Privacy based search tools, like DuckDuckGo, StartPage and Search Encrypt, are always improving. The results they return are comparable to any major search engine. If these options exist, it is in your best interest to use them. Be proactive in protecting your privacy, and encourage others to do so.
By creating a culture of privacy, the internet will be a safer and more user-friendly place. Choosing a privacy-based search engine is an easy first step towards making privacy a priority.