With large companies, such as Google and Facebook, collecting your data to build a virtual profile about who are and the kind of the person you are, it's no surprise that your data is as profitable as it is. For example, the Facebook leak showed how much information these companies store about you. And from using large amounts of different peoples' information, along with AI, predictions can be made about your personality, your interests, your political views, your intended actions.
A simple step that you can take to help improve your privacy can be to switch your search engine. Instead of using Google, you can instead try DuckDuckGo. DuckDuckGo is a search engine which is built with your privacy in mind. Here's 3 quick reasons why you should switch over to DuckDuckGo from Google:
DuckDuckGo Does NOT Track Your IP Address or Search History
When you search using Google, they track your search history and IP address so that they can collate this data. Would you feel comfortable letting your next-door neighbour track your search history and know what you looked at? So why would you feel comfortable letting Google do it?
Unlike Google, DuckDuckGo doesn't track any of your search history or your IP address.
DuckDuckGo Redirects You To Secure Sites
It is important that when you are on a website that HTTPS is used rather than HTTP. For any of you that don't know what this means, in simple terms it means that the data sent between your computer/phone and the website is encrypted. This makes it much harder for hackers to steal your details.
Imagine this scenario: You've gone to the local coffee shop on your lunch break from work and have decided to do a bit of online shopping. So, you connect to the public Wi-Fi that the coffee shop provides. You go to http://www.shopping.com and put your bank details into the site at the checkout. Little did you know that the man sat across the room from you was running a simple piece software on his laptop to monitor everyone's connection to the Wi-Fi. He now has your bank details!
If you had connected to https://www.shopping.com (notice the 's' on https) rather than http://www.shopping.com you would have made it much, much harder for that hacker to get your details.
It's an easy mistake to make when browsing online to not always check that you are using the secure version of the website. But DuckDuckGo automatically attempts to redirect you to the 'https' version of the website so that you don't need to remember to.
DuckDuckGo Prevents Filter Bubbles
Like we mentioned earlier, Google likes to track your data. As a way of profiting from your data, Google allows advertisers to access it. The advertisers can then target their ads at you by analysing your data and seeing which types of ads will be most effective.
There is a great blog post over at Quartz which explains how the filter bubbles can affect the way that you think and use the internet.