The Most Private Search Engine on the Planet (Hint: It's Not Google) In
fact, we here at The Sovereign Society have been telling you about the
importance of it for more than 15 years. But along the way, the message became
muted... it fell out of vogue and was lost to the new media age of Google,
Facebook and iPhones. I will be honest, I thought I was the odd man out for
trying to hang on to it.
Since June 6, the number of search queries on the DuckDuckGo search engine
has doubled. Cryptocat, an Internet chat program has also seen its business
double since then. And Tor, an Internet software program, has seen its
downloads increase by more than 30% in less than four weeks.
The "it" that I am referring to is personal privacy - and the
new-found desire for privacy is what's driving all of this new business
activity. June 6, 2013 is the day the vast (and frightening) National Security
Agency (NSA) domestic spying programs came to light.
Since the U.S. government's PRISM
surveillance program came to light, we now know that it's possible for the
NSA, the FBI and, eventually, the IRS to access the web activity, chat room
discussions, emails, phone calls, and text messages of innocent citizens not
suspected of committing a crime... and gather them all in government computers
without needing to obtain a warrant.
Just let that sink in for a moment. Less than eight weeks ago, most
of us thought such a thing could never, ever happen in the Land of the Free.
But it is happening and it will continue to happen, according to President
Obama, who referred to these once-unthinkable violations of our liberties and
privacy as "minor intrusions" in our lives.
Personally, the PRISM revelations are the best thing that has happened to
the U.S. in the last five years. Finally, the old paradigm through which most
Americans see "our government" has been shattered. It's like Sleeping
Beauty finally being roused from her deep sleep. As a nation, we must not
accept - and willingly support - Big Brother's invasions of our privacy.
A Host of More Secure Alternatives
Unlike Google, Bing and Yahoo!, DuckDuckGo is a search engine that
does not store personally identifiable information about peoples' search
queries on its servers. You can see exactly how your Google search information
is saved and sold, thanks to this simple diagram found on DuckDuckGo's website:
Another private third-party search engine is StartPage. When you search with
StartPage, they remove all the identifying information from your online query
and then submit it anonymously to Google themselves. They get the results and
give them to you, keeping your information completely private. Your IP address
is never stored... your visit is not logged and they don't place any tracking
cookies on your browser.
You can keep your intranet chats private by using Cryptocat. This site
encrypts all of its users' messages so that notes between you and family,
friends, colleagues or employees stay off the radar.
What all of these companies, which have all provided customer data to the
government, like Facebook, Google and Apple (and many
others), realize is that many U.S. citizens still place a premium on their
privacy... and you should too, before it's too late.
We Should All Be Fuming
Only 10 years ago, Steven Spielberg's action film Minority Report offered
movie audiences a chilling glimpse of a future in which the government and
police have a massive citizen data collection apparatus that is pervasive and
omnipresent. Well, like it or not, that future is now.
Thankfully, there are companies, like those I've mentioned, providing
private sector responses to these blatant affronts of our basic freedoms. And
more have entered the fray, including TextSecure, a mobile app
encryption service, and SpiderOak, a DropBox-like service that can't see
the content of user files.
I hope that we will let our elected leaders know that spying on its citizens
is not acceptable... and that it is no different than what the German
government did in World War II. I'm proud to say that we've been way ahead of
the curve on matters of liberty, privacy and encroaching government tyranny.
And as we've learned of late, the work we do is more important than ever.