Slashdot links to a Forbes article highlighting the work of Moxie Marlinspike with the anonymizing Firefox plugin, GoogleSharing. In addition to a reminder of how the plugin works by scrambling requests across all of the users using it, Forbes explains the recent update that addresses a question I certainly had when the plugin was first released. What if you don’t trust the administrators running the service that makes GoogleSharing work?
So when Google introduced encrypted search last May, Marlinspike saw an opportunity to solve that trust problem. Now that Google can accept encrypted search terms, he’s set GoogleSharing to scramble its queries and pass on the data in encrypted form. That means whoever is running the GoogleSharing server can see only identifying details like a user’s IP address, not the content of his or her online activities. And as has always been the case with GoogleSharing, Google can see only a user’s activities, not his or her identifying details. “Neither one of us gets to see the complete picture,” Marlinspike says.
This is excellent news if you just cannot give up Google for searches. If you are concerned about your search privacy, I would suggest you also consider checking out DuckDuckGo which has increasingly been offering more privacy options. There isn’t a technical assurance that DDG won’t track you, but there is a pretty strong policy statement. And for anyone else who might eavesdrop on your searches, DDG runs a Tor exit node and just recently added a Tor hidden service. (And to be clear, I have no affiliation with DDG, I am just a happy user.)