Monday, 22 July 2013

Right to privacy and the recent Datagate scandal is changing the ways people use the net

Snowden's leaks on the use of mass surveillance programs, like PRISM, by U.S. and British governments , highlighted again the discussion on the balance between collective security and civil liberties . Some international legal instruments have been adopted to safeguard the fundamental rights to privacy and civil liberties. Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 10, 1948 states as follows:

 1. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks

 Also, the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) adopted by the United Nations in 1966 and entered into force on 23 March 1976 introduced the following purview in Article 17:

 1. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation. 
2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Map on the state of ratification for the ICCPR
People is becoming more cautious on sharing information on the Internet. Details such as your search history, browsing habits, your physical location and your IP address are among the details that traditional and popular search engines like Google and Bing keep a record of. Therefore, more and more users are starting to use search engines which safeguard anonymity and privacy. Among these, search engines like  Ixquick ,and DuckDuckGo are lately registering  traffic increase around 50 %.
Why are instruments like Ixquick safer?

Protection of Privacy
User data are not stored in the search engines servers'

Ixquick as well DuckDuckGO don't record  IP addresses of users and track cookies, therefore there is literally no data about the user like in other search engines.

No Search leakage
when you do a search and then click on a link, your search terms are sent to that site you clicked on and your personal information are shared (search leakage).For example, when you search for something private, you are sharing that private search not only with your search engine, but also with all the sites that you clicked on (for that search).
In addition, when you visit any site, your computer automatically sends information about it to that site (including your User agent and IP address). This information can often be used to identify you directly.
So when you do that private search, not only can those other sites know your search terms, but they can also know that you searched it. It is this combination of available information about you that raises privacy concerns. Using
DuckDuckGo prevents search leakage by default. Visited sites will still know that you accessed them, but they will not know what search you entered beforehand.

 Encryption (HTTPS) by default

Encryption prevents snooping. Searches are encrypted, so others can't "tap" the Internet connection to snoop what you're searching for. This combination of not storing data together with using strong encryption for the connections is key in protecting your Privacy.

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