PRISM-Proof Your Web Searches

Slaw has recently featured two great pieces from Simon Fodden and David Canton discussing PRISM and its privacy ramifications. Concerns over PRISM and what are sure to be other as-of-yet undisclosed government surveillance programs has left many wondering how they can “lock down” their data in the cloud.

While PRISM caused much gnashing of teeth about the security of the cloud in general, there are nine providers that provide data to the government under PRISM, as detailed by an NSA presentation released by the Washington Post:

  • Microsoft
  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Skype
  • Twitter
  • AOL
  • Apple
  • YouTube

The web searches we perform every day provide an uncomfortably clear portal into the private side of both our business and personal lives, especially when viewed in aggregate. PRISM access to Google search data means the US Government can gain access to this data, an especially discomforting notion given the virtual monopoly Google holds over web search.

The cleverly-named PRISM-BREAK site details how one can opt out of PRISM by making better choices about the software and cloud providers one uses, and Duck Duck Go is one of its more notable recommendations. Not only is Duck Duck Go outside of PRISM’s current reach, but their policies protecting user’s privacy means that they will likely forever keep your search data outside of the US government’s reach, simply because that data is never tracked.

Privacy advantages aside, Duck Duck Go has garnered a wide number of rave reviews for both its user interface and search quality. If you’re concerned about your privacy, give it a try.

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