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