The ability of search engine Ixquick to allow a user in China to search for ‘Tiananmen Square’ without fear of reprisal has been praised by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Ixquick is the only major search engine that does not record users’ IP addresses or make a record of their searches, as verified by a third-party auditing firm.
EFF also praised Ixquick for supporting HTPPS, a security feature that prevents data from being eavesdropped upon as it moves across the internet.
The HTTPS protocol encrypts users’ search queries to protect against eavesdropping by a users’ local internet service provider, as well as eavesdropping by any third parties.
For example, a user in China could search for ‘Tiananmen Square’, without Chinese authorities being able to intercept the query. Of the major search engines, only Ixquick offers this ability.
“We hope that some day, the major search engines can catch up with Ixquick,” said EFF technical analyst Peter Eckersley, noting that Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft do not offer the HTTPS service.
Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft record every search query made through their websites and link them to the user’s IP address and cookies – a practice that has come under fire from both privacy and government groups.
Ixquick, on the other hand, allows for fully anonymous, private searches, since it does not record any personal data on its users.
By John Kennedy