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Choose Privacy: Search Engines

Tips and best practices for maintaining personal privacy and online security

About Search Engines and Personal Privacy

Logo: Big Data is Watching YouSearch Engines can track and save your personal data, even if you are in "private search mode". There are, however, search engines that care about your privacy, and they DON'T track and save your personal data. There are also a number of free and open source browser extensions, or add-ons, to help you maintain your privacy online.

Google search and privacy

Alternative search engines

DuckDuckGo logo

StartPage logo

  • StartPage
    StartPage removes all identifying information from your query and submit it anonymously to Google, then returns the results to you in privacy. Does not track IP address or searchers, and does not use tracking cookies.


Tor Browser info

  • Tor Browser
    The ultimate in secure browsing. It takes some getting used to and some websites do not display with all the details. Read the "about" page prior to jumping in.


More information:

Browser Privacy


  • Check your browser to see if you have the option of opening a "New Private Window" each time you want to limit cookies
  • Open "Settings" to specify how you will accept cookies from sites, and clear your history when closing your browser.


  • AdBlock (least intrusive)  "Blocks annoying video ads on YouTube, Facebook ads, banners and much more."
  • Better Privacy: (less intrusive) Gets rid of privacy-busting Flash cookies, also known as local shared objects or LSOs, which are used by many sites to supplement the normal HTTP cookies, the difference being that you can't delete Flash cookies using basic browser options like you can with regular cookies.
  • HTTPS Everywhere: Encrypts your communications with major websites; rewrites requests to HTTP sites to HTTPS
  • Privacy Badger: (less intrusive)  Tries to be smart about what to block. Blocks 3rd party tracker sites. Tries to block trackers without handicapping the functionality of the website you are visiting.
  • Ghostery (less intrusive) Blocks tracker sites with a list that can be updated from Ghostery. Like Privacy Badger, you can drill down and see what it thinks are needed to make the visited site work, and which it designates as trackers.
  • NoScript/ NotScripts (more intrusive) For Firefox and Chrome respectively.  Allows JavaScript, Java, Flash and other plugins to be executed only by trusted web sites of your choice.  Also provides cross-site scripting and clickjacking protection.


Private Browsing Myths

Change your search engine

Practical Browsing Tips

Practical Privacy Practices logo

TIP #1:  Make sure you are visiting secure sites (https://)

TIP #2:  Enable two-factor authentication in your email and social media accounts

TIP #3:  Delete your Internet history, cookies, and temporary files regularly

TIP #4:  Keep your webcam lens covered when not in use

TIP #5:  Log out of all accounts when you are done

TIP #6:  Do not send sensitive personal information (such as credit card or SSN) using public WI-FI

Extra TIP!  Don't forget to log out of everything (not just close the browser) when using a public computer!