Google is everywhere and all-knowing. Our dependence on tech giants has empowered them tremendously at the expense of our privacy. We have collectively traded in freedom for comfort, but where does that take us 10 years down the line?
It’s time we hit the brakes on the relentless erosion on our privacy and turn to encrypted search engines instead. While the rest of the world is only just waking up the idea, France has already sworn off Google, and we should all take a leaf out of their book.
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The French already have bidden farewell to Google
To protect themselves from Google’s extensive data collection and retention policies, The French National Assembly stated that they would abandon Google and adopt Qwant on all devices of the French government.
France’s watchdog of data protection fined Alphabet’s Google $57 million or €50 million on 14th of January, 2019 due to breached the European Union’s privacy rules. This penalty is the biggest ever levied against a United States tech giant.
Privacy breaches by Google that you need to know
A massive data leak of 500,000 Google+ users’ personal information was uncovered in March last year. Google found fault in a network glitch. This glitch of privacy is assumed to have existed since four years ago, who knows how much damage had been done before this was a known issue.
Yes, data breaches are everywhere, so what? Pause for a moment and think about how much Google knows about you, and how much you entrust the company to keep safe for you: your not-so-glorious search history, your browser history, your confidential emails on Gmail, to name but a few. What happens, if that sort of sensitive data is leaked, too? Shouldn’t we all be on the run from this data-hungry machine?
If it’s impossible to cut Google out of your life, at least stay away from its search engine when there are multiple outstanding private alternatives out there.
Why is using an encrypted search engine the best idea?
Admittedly, Google has a feature of private browsing called incognito mode which does not contain cookies, pre-filled forms, bookmark, and saved searches. However, the incognito mode cannot stop your information from being collected by the third parties since you can still be tracked with your DNS records.
In the other hand, an encrypted search engine is not tracking you as it offers added protection layers during the search results delivery. The combined protection layers may as well use local encryption for better privacy protection.
Benefits that offered by encrypted search engines
You can enjoy these benefits of encrypted search engines which you will not find in Google as below.
Your identity will be safe
An encrypted search engine uses aggregate to give non-personal search results so that your IP address is not linked to your searches
No targeted advertisements
The advertisements on encrypted search engines are solely based on your current search term, not your previous browsing history. Encrypted search engines do not run a network of advertising as Google does.
What does the future hold?
Voice search is already taking the market by storm. AI is getting better and better at understanding natural language, and soon machines will always be listening to feed us search results even before we ask for them. While that might be hugely convenient (and amusing), our appetite for ‘progress’ is leading us down a highly invasive and sinister future. Should your device be eavesdropping on your life 24/7 so that you can save minutes a day typing in commands? Surely that’s not what we need or want.
Major tech companies behind popular search engine companies will always be harvesting and using the data gleaned from your online activity. When they do, it will never be solely for the betterment of your digital experience, but for governments with backdoors to big techs to tighten their grip on citizens. So, next time when you’re looking up sensitive information, think twice before you hit enter.