Surface Web Search Engines and You
Did you know that every time you use a search engine like Google, Bing, or Yahoo, there is a detailed record of what you have just queried, where you were when you searched it, and what you clicked on after your search results? That same record is kept whenever you log in as a user of your Gmail or YouTube account, or even logged onto an Android operating system? Have you ever noticed how something you searched for now shows up as an ad everywhere you go? This is because a cookie is dropped with every click and that cookie is tracking you. As this information is stockpiled, it could be disseminated into the wrong hands.
The Simple Explanation
Begin by viewing this short video by the TOR Project. It explains a little more about how all this works.
Levels of Encryption
As the narrator states, there are three levels of encryption. The routers that do the encrypting pass the user from TOR server to TOR server across the world before arriving at its final destination. The encryption provided by the Tor browser gives users anonymity and makes it extremely difficult to follow or trace their activity.
The DarkNet Alternative
Now, what if there was a private search engine on the DarkNet that did not keep any information about you or what you have been searching. This search engine wouldn’t continually pummel you with ads, it wouldn’t track your browser, location, or personal information…it just let you search. Which search engine would you use if given the choice? If you picked the latter, then using the DarkNet’s DuckDuckGo search engine might be the right choice for you. When using a search engine like DuckDuckGo, you are anonymized and no cookies are dropped into your browser that can be tracked by sites that you search or visit.
“TOR protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays, run by volunteers all around the world. It prevents someone watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location.”
When you choose to totally (almost) anonymize yourself by downloading a browser like the TOR bundle and using something like DuckDuckGo, it makes it very difficult for anyone to follow you on your path. This is WHY those who wish to remain anonymous install these “safeguards.” You become a faceless person in a crowd of other faceless people. Consider what it would be like to track a person whom you don’t know, have never seen, and have no description or knowledge of their habits. This gives you an ideal impression of what it is like to track someone through the DarkNet.