Ben WoodsEurope Editor
Ben is a technology journalist with a specialism in mobile devices and a geeky love of mobile spectrum issues. Ben used to be a professional Ben is a technology journalist with a specialism in mobile devices and a geeky love of mobile spectrum issues. Ben used to be a professional online poker player. You can contact him via Twitter or on Google+.
With an increasing number of people concerned by infringements of online privacy and how personal data is stored and used, a new UK-based search engine has launched with the promise that your privacy will never be compromised.
Oscobo, founded by Fred Cornell (ex-Yahoo) and Rob Perin (ex-BlackBerry), aims to capitalize on these growing concerns around how data is shared between services, particularly by advertisers. While all modern browsers now offer a ‘private mode,’ the company says this does little to stop your activity being monitored for re-sale.
In addition to being used to target particular users with ads, Perin says that you could even end up seeing higher prices for certain products, depending on who you are.
“Over months and years a consumers’ personal history both in and out of a number of high profile search engines is tracked to monitor their online activity. This data is then stored, profiled, and sold to advertisers who bombard the consumer with spam, banner ads, and potentially cold calls.
Worse of all it can even increase the online prices of goods and services based purely on who they are perceived to be online.”
To stand out from this crowd of search engines, Oscobo doesn’t store or share any personal data at all, so next time you come back to search, it appears to the site that you’ve never visited before – no tailored results will appear. It doesn’t place cookies or track IP addresses.
That’s not to say it doesn’t have ads, however, they’re just not personalized and targeted at you.
Other services, like DuckDuckGo have successfully grown by focusing on privacy factors, reaching around 10 million queries per day by the end of 2015.
However, given that the service is US-based, it can be compelled to provide user data by law enforcement.
Of course, if you want highly-personalized results (and your data sold to third-parties) then you’ll probably want to stick with the regular ol’ Google, Yahoo or Bing options.
To test the service out, just point your browser at Oscobo.co.uk or install the Chrome extension.
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