Online Privacy is An Illusion, but Have You Tried Qwant?

By | May 17, 2020
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Online Privacy is An Illusion, but Have You Tried Qwant?

If you live in the USA, you may have heard our government has passed a law that allows authorities (FBI/CIA) to access your search history without a warrant or court order. 

The US Senate yesterday voted – by a single vote – to allow government agencies like the FBI and CIA to access your browsing history without a warrant.

This means they would not need to show probable cause for believing you have committed a crime before requiring your ISP to hand over its records on your web browsing and search histories. (May 14, 2020 https://9to5mac.com/2020/05/14/access-your-browsing-history/ )

We’ve been telling you for a while that any perceived privacy online at this juncture is pretty much illusory. It doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better either, my friends.

And even those of you who refuse to buy online do so anyway if you use a credit or debit card. Whether you insert your card or swipe it at the point of sale, you are buying online.

If you drive a car, own a house, have a passport, use public utilities, have a shopper’s card, have a checking and/or savings account, and so on, you’re online whether you ever touch an internet-connected device.

All your data is sitting out there in the “cloud” for a reason. It’s called convenience. And you don’t have a choice. All that data beings stored is worth money. Your data is like gold and trust me someone, somewhere, is going to mine it.

But that does mean you have to throw your hands up in the air, toss all your possessions move off to the hinterlands with Grizzly George.

You can still make it more difficult for “them” to get your hands on, what should be, your private stuff. Do you want someone to know what you’re searching for even if what you’re searching for is completely legal? If you search for eczema cream, then that probably means you or someone close to you has eczema. How about incontinence products? Yeah, you get the idea.  If you search for that kind of stuff using a main street search engine like Google, Bing, or Heaven forbid, Yahoo,  I’m almost certain you’re going to be seeing a lot of advertisements for eczema cures, treatments, and scams. Need I mention the incontinence products you searched for? So besides that fact the feds can grab your search histories on a whim and learn all about you, so can advertisers.

So why make it easy for them? Why not use a search engine that gives you a lot more privacy? 

I’ve been playing around with a search engine called Qwant. One of my biggest pet peeves about alternate search engines is most of the time the search results are meh… not so good… i.e. not like Google, admittedly the gold-standard of search engines when it comes to finding what you’re looking for. 

Anyway, Qwant is a privacy search engine that- at least in my few weeks of testing – produces excellent search results. And while I’m quite sure, it’s not 100% private – nothing is – it’s a whole lot more private than Google.

Here a bit of Qwant’s privacy policy for ya…

Qwant - Cloudeight

Qwant ensures that your privacy is protected, and this is the cornerstone of our philosophy. We don’t use any cookie nor any tracking device that may allow us to track your browsing habits or to establish your profile. You are of course entitled to the rights provided by the EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), but most of all we care about fully respecting the data minimization principle, that is that we don’t collect data that is unnecessary to deliver to you the services that you need. We never try to know who you are or what you are personally doing when using our search engine. When we do need to collect data, we do not disclose nor sell it for commercial or other uses. We use it exclusively to provide you with the services offered by Qwant.

This Privacy Policy is aimed at explaining in further details our ethical approach towards personal data, and at explaining the few cases where we have to collect information about you, the reasons why we collect such data, and the way we might use it. It also presents the security measures that we apply to protect their confidentiality, and reminds your rights and how to exercize them.

How does Qwant protect your privacy?
We should always ask our search engine what are the personal data that it does not collect 🙂

To the maximum of its possibilities and the state of art, Qwant anonymizes the data it needs to collect to deliver its services.

When you use Qwant as a search engine, we don’t put any cookie on your browser that may allow us or others to recognize you or to follow you everywhere on the Internet. We don’t use any tracking device (pixel, fingerprinting…). We don’t collect and we don’t store any history or your searches. When you enter a search query, it is immediately anonymized following the processes detailed below. Long story short, what you are doing with Qwant is part of your privacy and we don’t want to know.

When do we collect personal data, and why?
Qwant does not require any registration to use its search engine. However, you may want to register an account to sign-in and enjoy advanced functionalities.

In such cases, we collect some personal data such as your name, firstname and email address:

when you register to our services. You are free to manage yourself all the information related to your account (information changes, corrections, updates and deletion);
or when you use forms available on our website, so that Qwant can process your request.
Qwant also collects connection data, not associated with your search queries, only to ensure the security of its information system and, if you create or modify Boards, to respect the obligation to identify content creators mandated by law.

Even when you are connected with an ID, we don’t use any cookie nor any other tracking device when you browse the site…  (Qwant’s Privacy Policy)

So, after all of that, do you want to give Qwant a try? I hope so. I think you’ll like it. 

Search with Qwant here.

Even if you don’t use it a lot – at least you know it’s there to use should you ever want to search for eczema cream 🙂

If you’re currently using DuckDuckGo, read this.

6 thoughts on “Online Privacy is An Illusion, but Have You Tried Qwant?

  1. Constance Tyler

    I’ve been using DuckDuckGo. Thank you for this information as well.

    Reply
  2. muriel schlecht

    You must have been reading my mind. As I advanced through my reading of your article, I quickly thought “what about DuckDuckGo?. I use that almost exclusively. Then at the end you answered my question. Thanks for your thoroughness, as always. I’ll definitely give Quant a try.

    Interesting, I think…..
    Quant says,…….”You are of course entitled to the rights provided by the EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”),………….” Those rights apply to European Union (now minus the UK) sooo, I couldn’t restrain myself from going to Wikipedia.

    At the end of the material about GDPR at Wikipedie it says…..”The GDPR was adopted on 14 April 2016, and became enforceable beginning 25 May 2018. As the GDPR is a regulation, not a directive, it is directly binding and applicable, but does provide flexibility for certain aspects of the regulation to be adjusted by individual member states.

    The regulation became a model for many national laws outside EU, including Chile, Japan, Brazil, South Korea, Argentina and Kenya. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), adopted on 28 June 2018 has many similarities with GDPR.”

    What comes to mind re this new abominable US law is… I wonder if this warrantless invasion extends to local police authority? What a mess.

    Reply
  3. D.

    What comes to mind re this new abominable US law is… I wonder if this warrant less invasion extends to local police authority? What a mess.
    I agree… D.

    As for as Qwant I have used it and I like it. I also use SwissCows which is my default search. I use different privacy engines.

    Good recommendation…D.

    Reply
  4. layor nala

    There are three search engines recommended by PrivacyTools.io, a website devoted to providing knowledge and tools to help citizens protect their privacy from global mass surveillance. One is Searx, one is Qwant, and the other is DuckDuckGo. All have their pros and cons. Test them out and see what works for you.

    Reply
  5. Penny

    Something to be aware of, if you use Qwant on the Google Chrome browser, your searches are in Google’s search history. I clicked the link to Qwant. My links use Google Chrome to open. I did a search on weather. When I checked Google’s history, there was Qwant and the weather search I did on Qwant and the page I opened on the search. They are there in Bing, too, and, most likely Yahoo. I have not downloaded the Qwant app. But, your searches are probably private in that.

    Reply
    1. infoave Post author

      As I said, online privacy is an illusion. And if someone in seriously considering any kind of privacy they would not be using Chrome – or at least not using Chrome unless using it in “Incognito” mode. Incognito mode does not save browsing history on the local computer… but that being said, the article as not about browsers it was about search engines.

      If you use Google (search) it doesn’t matter if you clear your browsing history on your local PC, Google stores it online.

      Again, online privacy is an illusion, if you want to cut back on privacy violations you would not be using Chrome, you’d be using Tor, Brave, Iridium, Epic, or one of the other privacy browsers. And even then, Penny, you’re not going have 100% privacy, just a bit more than you have using Chrome.

      Reply

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