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Independent Search Engines

Discussion in 'Geek - Computers - Gaming - Gadgets' started by Crayon, Sep 11, 2008.

  1. Crayon

    Crayon TRIBE Member

    Dear Alpha Geeks,

    Do any of you know of a better alternative to Google, and other highly conglomerated search engines (e.g- ask.com, altavista, excite, etc) which monitor our web surfing activities then share that personal info with a third party?

    My guess is there are very few search engines out there that offer a high level of anonymity and privacy. PM me if you have any suggestions.

  2. derek

    derek TRIBE Member

    an encyclopedia would be my guess
  3. acheron

    acheron TRIBE Member

    what incentive would there be to run a search engine without tracking what was being searched? All that server time is expensive. Gotta pay for it some how.

    Would you pay to use an anonymous server?

    And is the problem that you think your identity is being sold, or do you just think that them selling search data (even if no personal information is attached) is wrong?
  4. oddmyth

    oddmyth TRIBE Member

    If you are looking for anonymity then use free open wifi networks to do your questionable searches.

    However posting something like this on a crawlable message board such as Tribe is far more indicative and implicative than simply trying to find anonymous search on the web wherein google logs the IP/cookie/form that you used to perform the search.
  5. Crayon

    Crayon TRIBE Member

    Lack of privacy is my main concern. The sharing of my private information with no consent is another.
  6. Crayon

    Crayon TRIBE Member

    Can i get the laymans version of that.

    There really is no questionable activity that im involved with. Its more a matter of a) knowing or having more control over who has access to my personal information, b) are those sources or so-called "trusted site" like (facebook) really to be trusted or do they divulge my personal info to a third party, and if so who are these subsidiary parties, and c) how can i opt out?
  7. oddmyth

    oddmyth TRIBE Member

    Sure. Asking about anonymous search (or anything you may feel is personally questionable) on a website where you have to register a 'real' email address like Tribe and there is no 'real' password security (ie. passwords are transmitted clear-text across the internet) is more leading than doing a search on say .. Google because your IP address is really the only infomation that ties you to that search.

    More research is being done everyday into why IP addresses cannot be used as unique identifiers for individuals. There are far too many networks within networks to be able to equitably identify an individual. Many RIAA cases in the US are lost because of this very fact all the time.

    However to answer your initial question in a round about way, I'll tell you a secret. Nothing you do or say can't be seen or searched if someone really really wants to. Anything you do on the internet could be logged if someone wanted to. So other than protecting your finances and your identity online, there isn't much you can do to protect 'what' you look for on the internet. You can simply make it harder for those people looking for the information to find it.

    In many ways this is security by obscurity.

    However, if you do find an anonymous search engine and you were searching for something of questionable nature, than it stands that as someone on the other side of the picture I would first be doing my best to find out as much information about the anonymous searches as possible as those people are obviously trying to avoid being seen.

    Its better to be a little fish in a gigantic pond of other fish than it is to be a little fish in a fishbowl.

    I've said it before, there's no such thing as privacy, now moreso than ever. At least now we are more aware that we have none.
  8. derek

    derek TRIBE Member

    now that's a strange loop.

    "you have no privacy, so get over it."

    some ceo (can't remember name, too lazy/paranoid to google), sunmircosystems
  9. gsnuff

    gsnuff TRIBE Promoter

    Use google. But use it differently.
  10. oddmyth

    oddmyth TRIBE Member

    interesting software but it really doesn't obfuscate anything from something that searches by keyword or phrase, it just makes the data set larger to search though, which given the state of computing today, doesn't amount to much of an imposition whatsoever.

    All you are doing is wasting CPU cycles by using that plug.

    Perhaps the question I should ask is why does it make a difference if someone knows your IP address and what you searched for if all you are looking for is cake recipes?
  11. Rajio

    Rajio Well-Known TRIBEr

    you could hire a private investigator to search the web manually on your behalf. it takes longer but if you do it right, it wont be traced back to you.

    i could be hired for this purpose but you probably couldn't afford me.
  12. Crayon

    Crayon TRIBE Member

    Good question.

    Read this.




    I think it matters a lot. I mean, regardless of what you choose to research on the web, be it cupcake recipes or porn, you should have the right to be made aware that some form of tracking is going on, but the most important questions for me are - how far do they dig, exactly who are these faceless third parties involved that have access to my personal information without my consent, and for what purpose?
  13. jazzsax

    jazzsax TRIBE Member

    I love google.

    If only for the fact I can type in "Stephen Harper", have it bring up a sponsored link for Jack Layton, click on the link and know that I myself have cost the NDP $6.50.

    If only I could enlist many others to do the same. bwahahaha.
  14. Bass-Invader

    Bass-Invader TRIBE Member

    Hi Crayon. Here's Google's privacy policy.

    They do a pretty good job of going into detail about what is actually retained and how it is used.

    To be honest, finding a useful search engine that doesn't retain any data bout its users is going to be difficult seeing as that by discarding such data they basically defeat their main avenue for revenue generation.

    The best you can hope for is that the retained data is anonymized and only presented in aggregate form (ie: 22% of searches for spider-porn originated from Canada rather than, someone at this particular ip address searched for spider porn.)
  15. oddmyth

    oddmyth TRIBE Member

    Well here's the thing, Beacon is something completely different than search. It also requires you to be logged into Facebook to transmit any personal information back to Facebook. Otherwise it operates on the same level as many other heuristics and data collection software.

    You should be aware that many pages you visit will use something called google analytics, as well most pages have some form of logged tracking be it webstats or otherwise. In other words Beacon is nothing new and tracking where you have been on the web has always been a reality since the dawn of the webserver itself. Where Beacon differentiates is that it tries to trace a path of where you have been on the web, however your computer is already doing that for you. The Google analytics data could also be used to trace a web path however that is probably outside the scope of the EULA Google issues.

    Overall everything you do on the internet can be logged and probably is logged for short periods of time by anything from a webserver, a router, a switch, a firewall or your own computer. However the only identifier for most of this data is the IP address and this is why I mentioned in my first reply that the real juxt of anonymous data is whether or not an IP address is truly a unique identifier. Which for the most part TODAY, it isn't. In the future should we get rid of IPv4 and move for to IPv6 and do away with NAT and DHCP, then we may be able to qualify an IP address as a unique identifier.

    So long story short, yes you are being watched, tracked, logged. Everyone is. IP address is the really only identifying information that is logged by others 99% of the time. There are legions of privacy groups who are watching the watchers to make sure they aren't taking advantage of you. Underneath all of that their are probably governments collecting all the information they possibly can. You can be found if someone with the ability to wants you to be found. However that has been the way for the better part of the last 40 years or so. So its not something that most of us have lived without for our lives. The only thing we haven't known is how pervasive it is and now that we know we have the choice as to whether it affects our lives or whether we just go on living.

    I choose the latter simply because I realize that nothing I do could possibly be of that much interest to anyone else at the end of the day. There's always somebody doing something much crazier.
  16. praktik

    praktik TRIBE Member

    {WWII analogy ON}First they came for the communists, but I didn't care... cause I wasn't a communist...{WWII analogy OFF}

    hehe... sry... just wanted to get all self-righteous and invoke the spectre of WWII...

    I'm sure there's a few Orwell quotes I could mine as well - Orwell, the most oft-abused writer I think...;)

    I'm with ya man... life goes on... getting worried about internet monitoring is like worrying about being videotaped when you walk through the mall - the only way to avoid it is to NOT use the net (or the mall!)
  17. oddmyth

    oddmyth TRIBE Member

    Hey man, I absolutely agree. I'm a lazy bastard when it comes to stuff like this though, I really couldn't give a rats ass about people knowing what I shop for online.

    I probably have more security concerns than they average joe and I spend about 3 hours a day policing user web habits and email usage. I work with that type of information all the time and I spend much of it trying to make people aware of stupid shit like proxying facebook and what kind of security alarm should be sounding off in their mind as they type their passwords into a website dedicated to circumventing rules put in place to protect the business they work in.

    So yeah, that's something we all live with everyday, but if there's one thing we've seen with the internet, its that the voice of the people is very powerful.

    I've got more important things to watch out for than my browsing history.
  18. gsnuff

    gsnuff TRIBE Promoter

    You know.. all of the people I've ever known that used PHP for email encryption (perhaps with one exception) were self-important and pretty damn uninteresting. In this age of wiretap politics, privacy is an important concern but anybody semi-immersed in the vast majority of web services is naive to think they aren't providing traffic & demographic data. It is like owning a credit card, if you don't think your spending habits are being monitored and tracked.. go make a bunch of very uncharacteristic purchases in a very short period of time.
  19. workdowntown

    workdowntown TRIBE Member

  20. workdowntown

    workdowntown TRIBE Member

    There's no better alternative to google in terms of search results though.

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