Should You Remove Search Encrypt’s Extension?
If you’re thinking about removing Search Encrypt’s Chrome or Firefox extension, think again about the data you would be handing over to big search engines without Search Encrypt. Search Encrypt redirects your searches from search engines like Google to our private search engine that doesn’t track user identifiable information about you.
Along with Search Encrypt, we recommend other browser extensions, like ad blockers and script blockers, for protecting your privacy. Because ad blockers actually keep ads from loading on the websites you visit, they can actually speed up your browsing.
What Information Are Search Engines Collecting?
The data that search engines collect and store varies by search engine. The search engines collecting the most data are Google and Chinese search engine Baidu. These two are capable of collecting huge amounts of data thanks to their large number of apps and services. Search Encrypt, both in its extension and web search engine form, helps protect you from losing your information to third-parties on the web.
Google’s many products, including Maps, Youtube and Gmail, give it more opportunities to collect your data than other search tools. Whether you use Google, Yahoo, or Bing, if you are using the search engine along with the other features the company offers, you are giving them an incredibly complex and complete depiction of yourself. Another threat from Google is that it has tracking on three out of four of the top 1 million websites, which makes Google hard to avoid.
“You provide some of this data directly, such as when you create a Microsoft account, administer your organization’s licensing account, submit a search query to Bing, register for a Microsoft event, speak a voice command to Cortana, upload a document to OneDrive, purchase an MSDN subscription, sign up for Office 365, or contact us for support. We get some of it by recording how you interact with our products by, for example, using technologies like cookies, and receiving error reports or usage data from software running on your device. We also obtain data from third parties.”
Ask lists the following for “How do we share the information we collect?”
- Our suppliers, subcontractors, and business partners (“service providers”)
- Companies within the IAC Group of Companies
- Our Search Application partners
- Fraud prevention
- Law enforcement purposes and public safety
- Sale or merger of our business
- Advertisers and advertising networks
The Problem With Major Search Engines
In exchange for providing you with their search services, these search engines take as much data about you as possible. Search Encrypt hopes to make the web safer by protecting your search terms and blocking the search engines that track you. We don’t associate your searches with your name, or identifiable
This isn’t limited to just your search behavior. You’re likely being followed by tracking cookies left behind by the search engine. While tracking is one of Google’s biggest strengths as far as data acquisition, it’s a feature that most people don’t even think about when they use the web. You could remove Search Encrypt from your browser, or you could keep it to keep your searches more private.
Your relationship with search engines that are tracking your data is based on a lot of trust. You trust that they won’t use your data maliciously, or leak it to hackers. We think it shouldn’t be this way. Systems dealing with sensitive and private data, should implement privacy by design. This would mean not tracking the data to begin with, because that makes users and the company more vulnerable than necessary. Big search engine users aren’t given the option to opt out of sharing their data. And there is no opt-in function either, users aren’t obviously notified that they are being tracked. For now, we think people are too trusting of Google. All it will take is one Google hack to make people switch to private search engines.
Because a search engine knows what you look at on the internet, it knows your interests, your political views, your job, your age and tons of other bits of information. Your search engine knows what you’ll search for, probably before you do. That’s a scary thought when you consider the advertising that Google and other search engines can put in front of you. If you don’t want to spend money, Google can present you with ads right at the decision making point and influence you into buying anyway. We think that besides being creepy, search engines shouldn’t be able to influence how we think or make decisions.
Why You Shouldn’t Remove Search Encrypt
If you are consistently using Google, Bing, or other big search engines, you are voluntarily giving up your data. Our goal is to protect internet users and their behavioral data. If instead of using Search Encrypt you’re going to use a search engine that forgoes privacy, you’ll be putting yourself at risk. Don’t remove Search Encrypt if you don’t want to give even more power to Google.
There are some articles out there that claim that Search Encrypt is malware, a virus, or spyware. We’d like to address these openly and transparently with our users. If you read these articles, the majority of them actually are marketing their own software which they claim you need to remove Search Encrypt.
Our extension works like any other browser extension. You can remove it just like any other browser extension.
If you don’t have Search Encrypt, you can install our extension here. You can also use Search Encrypt on our website, SearchEncrypt.com. Read this article, Adding Search Encrypt to Chrome, for help adding our Chrome extension.