I mean, do you really want people to know your secret love of fairies?
As disturbing, funny, and nutty some of those searches are one thing is pretty clear — people ran them in private. Or thought they did anyway. More disturbing is that the entire web is now reading about them, blogging them, doing news stories on them. So much for privacy.
Luckily, you can go a long way to keeping your secret searches safe. Here’s a few tools that will help:
- Lost In The Crowd
This site allows you to search your favorite engines while automatically mixing your searches with a large number of other searches essentially creating “search noise”. The idea is that that your sexy/sneaky/sick searches will be harder to find and appear less prominent if they are found. Nice that it works with any browser and all major engines.
- TrackMeNot FireFox Extention
This extention does pretty much the same thing as Lost In The Crowd. One bit that TrackMeNot has over Lost In The Crowd is that you can add your own list of keywords for the autogenerated searches to be created from which should add a little more safety.
Creates a network of onion proxies allowing all data (not just searches) to flow through what is essentially an anonymous peer to peer network. I’m not the most techy guy in the world so if that description doesn’t do it for you here’s a great overview of how Tor works (scroll down a bit to the pics). Appears to be the most robust solution, but a bit complicated for people like me.
- FoxyProxy FireFox Extention
This extention can be configured to use a multiple proxies to help keep everything you do online (including your searches) do anonymous. Works with Tor out of the box.
- Don’t Leave Traces FireFox/Greasemonkey Extention
This new one is similar to FoxyProxy although a little more simplistic since it uses only one proxy and works for searches only. Easy add though if you already use Greasemonkey.
- Use a Web-Based Proxy
There are 100s of free proxies out there that you can use to surf the web. Most should give you some level of anonymity and work in any browser, but be careful since you never know who is running the proxy!
- Ok, I said 6 but you should give the tool that Bob recommends to delete your search history a try or check out our post on clearing your search history too!
Hopefully these tools will help you improve your level of privacy online. Now you can go fairy hunting in peace
Did I miss any good tools? Got a tip for using any of the above? Add it to the comments of this post and I’ll update as needed.