Are you still worried that Google and Bing are sending your search data to the NSA, or just want more privacy? We’ve tried out four search engines that aren’t monitored by government agencies and allow for anonymous web browsing. These are just a few samples, and the folks at PRISM Break have an extensive list of anti-NSA apps and services. We’ll take a closer look at our favorites and share the best of the lot.
DuckDuckGo evaluates the meta search data of over 50 third-party search engines. This includes Yahoo! Search Boss, Wolfram Alpha, Bing, and even Wikipedia. It even has a web crawl that automatically searches the web to analyze web pages and help populate the search index.
DuckDuckGo claims that it stores no IP addresses and individual user searches. Cookies are rarely used as well. Within the options, you can enable HTTPS encryption and ensure that anonymous when clicking search results. The company even provides an amusing introduction video about its search functionality.
Seeks is another meta-search engine that uses OpenSearch, as well as results from Bing, Google, Yahoo!, YouTube, Wikipedia, and Blekko. Seeks acts as a buffer between the user’s search queries and the corresponding service, allowing for anonymous searches. Seeks then generates a combined overview of all the search results from each source.
In addition, the search provider is working on a so-called Web proxy network for searches. Once enabled, whenever the user access a search engine like Google directly, they will instantly see the Seek results. Seeks’ goal is on transparency and has an active community working on further developments. Their project page shares the technology they use and invites users to cooperate in making the searches even better.
Startpage uses just the results of Google, but adds in a proxy between the user and the search giant. This prevents the company from gaining any form of personal data.
The about page claims that Startpage does not log any data and actively encrypts all transactions. If you still want the power of Google, but want to maintain privacy, Startpage is an excellent choice.
YaCy is a bit different than the other options, using P2P searches to index the web. YaCy uses a background client and creates a local search index directly on your hard drive. By connecting all of these indexes to each user, YaCy turns into a powerful but decentralized search provider.
Each participant must install the software and allow it to run in the background. When you conduct a search, YaCy will look in its local database, not on servers of search providers. The safety factor of YaCy is very high. For absolute security, there is also a stealth mode that allows searching without sending additional data to the P2P network. The results are more limited, but can still be useful. It’s up to individual taste if you really want to connect directly to other users, though.