When we search web most of the search engines collect and store search queries records. Maximum time they are harmless but if the information is revealed to others it can be harmful or embarrassing. No one would like to reveal personal medical history, sexual orientation, online reading habit or political affiliation to any stranger. When AOL disclosed their 650,000 users search logs in August 2006, it caused great harm for Thelma Arnold. So, what’s the best way to avoid this type of harassment?
Stay away from searching through your credit card number, name, address, social security number or any other personal information that can expose your identity and lead to your doorstep. If you are really in need of searching through personal information then follow appropriate way to do it.
Your ISP knows who you are and it’s easy for them to link your search logs and your identity. So, never use your ISP’s search engine. If you’re an AOL member avoid AOL searching or AOL’s client software. If you’re a broadband subscriber don’t use http://search.yourconnection.com. If you do it’ll risk revealing your personal identity.
Most of the web search engines give opportunity for personal account and login like Google with Gmail, A9 with Amazon, MSN with Hotmail etc. Do not use search engines when you’re logged in into the corresponding account. If you really have to search and check your webmail same time then use two different browsers to do so. Otherwise your searches will be linked in to your personal account.
If you follow the steps then you’re almost safe to do any web search. However, search engines can still link your searches together through IP addresses and cookies. Websites link all of your activities and visits at the site by putting cookies on your computer. If you use the same computer in different connections or locations still you can be tracked down by cookies. Using different computers can prevent this. You can easily block cookies but to access some websites cookies are necessary. For best, allow session cookies so when you close your browser they won’t last. Also you can clean cookies after you finish your activities.
As last step, vary or hide your IP addresses. You can use proxy servers to hide your original IP address. Many companies provide free or paid IP hiding service. When you do web search keep in mind these things and have a safe web searching experience.