Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like AT&T and Comcast now have the green light to sell your personal information. Should you be worried? Yes.
ISPs can have almost God-like insights into your life, considering that these are the companies that connect you to the internet, usually by running their wires or cable into your home.
Not only do ISPs monitor what you do on the internet, they know who you are, where you live, and other details necessary to provide you service. This makes connecting your online behavior directly to you a snap. That’s a lot of power!
With this in mind, the Federal Communications Commission created rules that would have restricted what ISPs could do with all that information. But those rules were overturned by Congress so ISPs can collect, use, share and even sell information about you and your internet habits—all without your permission.
Think you have nothing to hide? Think again
Ever notice how ads for things you’ve researched stalk you wherever you go online? It’s not just annoying. It’s a sign that your ISP, the websites you visit and marketers are watching.
Your favorite brand of running shoes flashed to you in ads may seem like a harmless data point, but it’s just the tip of the information iceberg. Think about the thousands of websites you click on regarding your hobbies, medical conditions, finances and more every year, and you will begin to understand why you should control what data flows into your profile.
Websites you visit may be telling
Websites you visit can say a lot about who you are. Think about it. Visit multiple sites about dogs, and you likely either have a dog or want one. That’s a pretty good indicator that dog food ads would be interesting to you.
Visit sites about cancer or bankruptcy, and that also speaks volumes. Sure there are marketers who might be interested in targeting ads to you based on that information. But potential employers and insurance companies might also like to get their hands on it.
Fortunately, you don’t have to choose between seeking knowledge and maintaining privacy. Even if you don’t have the budget for a VPN, find Tor burdensome, or you simply want another layer of protection, consider using StartPage.com not only for search privacy but for its free proxy feature.
Search the web privately
We’ve already established that an ISP’s knowledge of the sites you visit is a privacy problem. But what you type into a search engine can also be very revealing because the search terms you use can make the purpose of your website visits even more clear.
StartPage.com uses Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTPS) to encrypt your connection. Your ISP can know you’re visiting StartPage, but not what you are searching for while you are there.
In fact, your searches at StartPage will remain anonymous. StartPage.com offers actual Google search results in privacy. No personal information is recorded and Google never sees you. Another feature StartPage offers that sets it apart is a free proxy.
What is a free proxy?
Have you ever heard the phrase, “It was done by proxy?” A proxy is a figure or authority that can be used to represent someone else. You see this regularly in things like auctions, where someone is sent to bid on an item so the true buyer can remain anonymous.
In the same way, a “proxy” can be used to protect someone’s anonymity in real life, an “open proxy” can be used to protect your privacy online.
When you visit a third-party website through the StartPage proxy, it’s like wearing an invisibility cloak that keeps your ISP, as well as the website and its advertisers, from seeing you. This effectively stops the information flow that fuels those annoying targeted ads and consumer profiles. In addition, since your browser never interacts directly with the third-party website, it also stops spyware, viruses and malware from landing on your computer.
This is a unique feature that isn’t available with any other search engine.
Why it matters
Private search has always been a wise idea, but with the rollback of ISP regulations, it’s even more important. You need a tool that offers excellent search results and makes search protection easy. To start protecting yourself with StartPage.com, click the blue button below.