The headlines these days are littered with revelations that this or that company has had its website hacked and consumers’ privacy information was lost.
But consumers likely don’t fully realize the amount of personal information they reveal to companies when they jump online to hunt to find a product.
It adds up, as Facebook, Google and the like, who obtain those details and monetize them, could affirm.
But now there’s a new privacy option.
The company says its “Anonymous View” feature will prevent websites visited from tracking consumers.
It acts as an anonymizing buffer.
“When a user clicks on an Anonymous View link, Startpage.com goes to the website, retrieves the page, and displays it to the user. The website sees Startpage.com as the visitor, while the Startpage.com user remains invisible. This allows users to visit websites while protecting their privacy,” the company said in its announcement Thursday.
“A free Anonymous View link is delivered to the right of every search result at Startpage.com.”
“With this innovation, we make it easier for consumers to keep personal data more private than ever before. Anonymous View is easy to use and unique for any search engine,” said Startpage.com CEO Robert Beens. “Unlike the incognito mode in your browser, Anonymous View really protects you. It combines searching in privacy with viewing in privacy.”
He said his company will “continue to offer the world’s best search results without the tracking and profiling.”
“We are proud of our new features together with our new design and faster results. We will continue to develop new online tools that help people take back their privacy.”
The company contends it’s better than a browser’s “incognito mode,” because while that prevents storage of browsing histories and cookies, it doesn’t protect users from websites tracking and selling their behavior.
“Startpage.com is the world’s first and most trusted private search engine, and never logs or shares user personal information. The company is based in Europe and distinguishes itself by facilitating anonymous search on the internet,” the organization boasts.
Consumer privacy expert Liz McIntyre, co-author of “Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Purchase and Watch Your Every Move” and part of Startpage, condemned a plan to chip athletes as an invasion of privacy and unneeded.
She said such plans are the reason she formed Citizens Against Marketing, Chipping and Tracking, or CAMCAT.
“Lawmakers need to act now to protect their constituents,” she said. “CAMCAT will work to make that happen.”
McIntyre is co-author with Katherine Albrecht of “Spychips.” She works as a consultant for StartPage.com and StartMail.com.
WND reported when the concept was explained by Albrecht, a Harvard-trained privacy expert, who helped launched the StartPage and Ixquick search engines to protect user privacy.
“It would blow people’s minds if they knew how much information the big search engines have on the American public,” she said at the time. “In fact, their dossiers are so detailed they would probably be the envy of the KGB.”
It happens every day, Albrecht said. When an unfamiliar topic crosses people’s minds, they often go straight to Google, Yahoo or Bing and enter key terms into the search engines. Every day, more than a billion searches for information are performed on Google alone.
“We’re essentially telling them our entire life stories – stuff you wouldn’t even tell your mother – because you are in a private room with a computer,” she said. “We tend to think of that as a completely private circumstance. But the reality is that they make a record of every single search you do.”