What is personal data?
Personal data are information collected which could be used to identify a living individual. Personal data could be collected in 2 ways:
- The user is the person giving the data through for example subscription forms or profiles.
- The data are collected implicitly/explicitly like when users are doing their search or visiting a website.
How the collected data are use
Targeted advertisements: Companies would collect our personal data to send targeted advertisements. It has probably happened to any of us to receive advertisements of what we have researched before.
Trade of personal data: You may have wondered how social media earn money when their application is free. The reselling of personal data on the market to a third party is one way these companies use our data.
Collecting to improve user experience Data can be collected ethically to help improve user experience and software evolution.
Criminal purposes: Your personal data could be exploited by criminals to stalk, steal your identity or aid planning criminal acts.
How to protect our personal data?
Google has been the leader in online searches with 28 billions of searches per day. The other major players in online searches are Yahoo search with 810 millions searches per day and Bing with 140 millions searches per day. We can see that Google is so far the most used search engine. But one thing most of us don’t know is our data is being collected when we conduct a research using Google search engine or use an android device. Google stores all of our activity history, location history, audio history and device history. The more Google product we use, the more data about us they will gather.
If you are interested in keeping your data private, consider changing your search engine first. Some of us may think that Google is the best tool for research and find it hard to switch to another search engine. Please know that every search engine has its own strength. Based on what we need we can use different search engine. Some could go as far as displaying the same results as Google without tracking us.
Please find below a list of alternative to Google search for personal data protection:
Search engines our team use
- Qwant: Our favorite, an European privacy-oriented search engine. It does not record your searches and does not use your personal data for advertising or any other purposes.
- DuckDuckGo: Offer online privacy. The search engine does not track your activities online.
- StartPage: This search engine uses data from Google. It is a good alternative to Google Search Engine if you want the same results without the tracking.
Other search engine
- Qwant Junior: Qwant search described above, dedicated for our kids.
- Swisscows: The search engine does not build tracking profiles. It is a search engine built with artificial intelligence, which learns to answer your question.
- Discrete Search: Discrete Search uses advanced security and encryption to make your search as private as possible.
- Bitclave: This search engine allows users to choose the information they want to share with advertisers.
- Ixquick: This search engine does not register your IP address. The results of search are collected from other search engines.
- Oscobo: Your search is kept private.
Search engine for tree lovers
- Ecosia: Ecosia is an interesting search engine because a part of their revenue will be used to plant trees. Users contribute to the protection of the tropical forests.
We hope that through this blog article you would understand the importance of personal data and know how to start protecting yours.