Quite a few people seem upset over the possibility that their online activities are being tracked by the government. Yahoo acknowledges they have answered around 13,000 tracking requests from the feds in the last six months, and Facebook and Microsoft have similar numbers.
Google’s “Chrome” browser has an “incognito mode,” but warns that you could be under “surveillance by secret agents.” (Can you imagine what a boring job that must be?) Mozilla Firefox has denounced government tracking and offers add-ons, such as “DoNotTrackMe,” to cover your embarrassing parts. In an upcoming release, they’ll block the most intrusive tracking cookies by default.
For more obscure searching, you can use StartPage or Ixquick, both of which saw a surge in traffic after all the publicity about federal snooping. You’re actually using Google when you use StartPage, but the results are private. They don’t make a record of your searches or use tracking cookies. The connection is encrypted to prevent eavesdropping. Ixquick is also private, but doesn’t use Google results. Both services are Dutch, and not subject to U.S. government surveillance or data collection. Both are free.
For email protection, we’ve previously written about Echoworx, which likes to point out on their website that they’re Canadian and not subject to U.S. snooping. “StartMail” is another free one that will be starting up later this year. You can ask to be one of the testers at startmail.com.
(Bob suggests that our government offer its own free browser and privacy protection. That way whatever you read or write can go directly to the National Security Agency and they can save a lot of money on hiring snoopers.)