By Paul Gorski
StartPage.com is an Internet search engine that: 1) does not track you, 2) does not store your personal search information, and 3) provides Google-based search results. StartPage claims it can help you “take back your privacy.” I have listed three of those ways — the full list is at: https://startpage.com/eng/top-ten-ways-startpage.html.
Google search, especially if you are logged into a Gmail or other Google service, tracks your search habits and displays targeted ads based on the profile it is building on you. Google search also customizes search results if it knows your location, so search results may change from one city to another. StartPage.com provides consistent Google search results without the tracking.
A recent Consumer Reports study found that most consumers, almost 6 to 1, oppose trading “their personal data, even anonymously, for the sake of being served ads that online advertisers think are more relevant to them.” Read a summary of the survey at: https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2014/05/most-consumers-oppose-internet-ad-tracking/index.htm.
The White House released a report on “big data” earlier this year. That report acknowledged consumer electronic privacy concerns, noting that consumer information collected on the Internet is: “highly valuable to businesses of all kinds. It is bought, bartered, traded, and sold. An entire industry now exists to commoditize the conclusions drawn from that data. Products sold on the market today include dozens of consumer scores on particular individuals that describe attributes, propensities, degrees of social influence over others, financial habits, household wealth, and even suitability as a tenant, job security, and frailty.” Read the report at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/big_data_privacy_report_5.1.14_final_print.pdf.
Switching from Google to StartPage is easy. Visit http://www.startpage.com and click on the “Set as homepage,” and you are on your way to private searching. Give StartPage.com a test drive and let me know what you think of the service.
Paul Gorski (www.paulgorski.com) has been a technology manager nearly 20 years, specializing in workflow solutions for printing, publishing and advertising computer users. Originally destined to be a chemist, his interest in computers began in college when he wrote a program to analyze data from lab instruments he hard-wired to the back of an Apple IIe.
Posted June 26, 2014