Letter Re: Search Engine Privacy and Security

Good day Sir,

I want to reference to a topic which could prove of great importance. A situation where the loss of personal liberty and freedom occurs. There are some that believe that we are in that situation currently.

I browse the Internet for news and factual information, much like earlier times when a person would pick up a newspaper. I have in the past used “Google” as my primary “Search Engine”. To my understanding and experience, my search results are cataloged and referenced. When I do searches through “Google”, I am bombarded by advertisements that seemingly reference my previous search preferences.

An example

Case in point. I had been doing a search for cold weather sleeping bags, and nearly every site I visit contains an exact advertisement to a choice that I in fact have already purchased.

I have recently switched over to the “Epic privacy browser”. Their site states their browser does not divulge your personal IP Address to your Internet provider. To my understanding, your personal “IP Address ” is the same as a person’s mailing address.

Furthermore, “Epic privacy browser” reveals sources that are tracking you when you click on a website. As a test, I clicked on “CNN.com”. I found that no less than 27 independent sources were tracking and compiling my personal information and that I had visited that site. The browser in fact list the names of the companies/sources gathering the information.


The Department of Justice recently subpoenaed 1.3 million addresses of those visiting the infamous “Antifada” website. It seems that it intends on seeking information, to prosecute or track individuals, based upon an algorithm, of those simply clicking on that site.

I prefer to browse information independently and make personal judgments based on that, without interference from a governing body accusing me of “subversive” behavior and punishments for simply clicking on a site like SurvivalBlog.com.

I would not yet consider myself a SME, or subject matter expert, on this subject:

What do the readers, who are subject matter experts, recommend for this topic?

I would invite all discussions on these matters. God bless – Lone Wolf and Cub


  1. A valid concern for sure. Our phone texting is now subject to the same problem. IE; The other day I texted my son about CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) schools. Within one minute he was receiving advertisements via text for CDL schools. He had not done any searches and had only received my text on the subject. Its getting ridiculous.

  2. I have been using Firefox, Duck Duck Go and Ghostery. If you want to be amazed go to Glen Beck’s site with Ghostery added or using your Epic and see who is looking. It is astounding. Ghostery was recently acquired so I don’t know about its future. The one I would like to get around is Amazon. Ads pop up featuring items you shopped on their site. Christmas gifts are not so secret.

  3. I also use Firefox. I don’t trust the Microsoft or Chrome browsers.

    I use startpage.com as my search engine.

    I also use the firefox plugin “ublock origin”. As such, I don’t see advertisements.

  4. In the “making the personal, political”, I stopped using FireFox when in April 2014 the Mozilla Board fired their new CEO Brendan Eich for privately supporting a site that opposed gay marriage.

    Right now I use Chrome, but am looking for a replacement browser (other than IE).

    I’m using duckduckgo as my search engine.
    Is this the “Epic Search Engine”?
    And how do you get the search engine to show who is tracking you? That would be VERY informative.

    Dahnke Sehr

    1. Good day Sir,

      The “Epic privacy browser” is independent of “duckduckgo” . The browser automatically lists who is tracking you in the bottom right corner.

      God bless,

    2. You can use the noScript extension for Firefox to list and selectively block all servers that a web page accesses. Tor Browser includes noScript. I have no experience with “Epic Privacy Browser” but it probably uses noScript or a similar tool.

      1. This. Firefox with noscript and adblock pro are the building blocks to realistic internet privacy. The best defense is always the correct eduction. Remember the basics, never give your real info out unless absolutely trust the site (amazon purchases will obviosly require a real address to deliver packages to). Always assume anytime you use the Internet anything you input is subject to being recorded by someone. Always check encryption to ensure the certificate matches expectations and is updated. You can check a sites basic security with ssllabs site too if your really questioning legitimacy. They have a simpe grade system if you are not well educated on modern cryptography with details for those that are.

  5. To me It’s a mixed bag. Anyone who thinks the internet or telephones are secure is fooling themselves. I would no more commit a crime on the internet than I would shoplift in a store. On the other hand if someone uses the internet to commit a crime I am quite happy that the government can subpoena the records to get to the truth.

    1. That works as long as you trust the government. Sadly, governments have a habit of calling things a “crime” for political reasons and not moral or ethical reasons. There are also cases where such crimes were deemed retroactively. Gun registration is a prime example:

      “Go ahead and register your gun. We won’t confiscate it” (yet.)

      1. The correct solution than is to fix the government and not take away legitimate criminal enforcement techniques. If Seattle, for example, chooses to elect Marxist to mayor and city council they are then choosing Marxist policies. If on the other hand you elect someone who espoused constitutional law and then reverted to a Marxist philosophy in his voting and actions it is the responsibility of the voters to remove him and/or stop him. The problem isn’t the internet or phones it is those who abuse power.

        1. @GonWithTheWind,

          So let me see if I understand your position here:

          The government should have the right to peer into or view any electronic communication that it deems necessary in the pursuance of whatever it has deemed is a crime? Should they preemptively view my communications just in case I’m doing something illegal that they don’t yet know about?

          Isn’t that the same as saying it’s OK to register your gun because you have a pro-gun governor/legislature/sheriff at the present time? Even if you trust them right now, how do you know that they won’t change in the future? If you think that any government bureaucracy is beyond corruption you haven’t been paying attention to what is going on in our government at all levels.

          In a Utopian society, you might be able to give such power to the government. The problem is such a society does not exist and history has shown that if you even come close to it, the power nearly instantly corrupts the ruling forces. There is a reason the founding fathers recognized that the power rested with the people and not the government.

          History is full of examples where power is surrendered to the government and that government subsequently abuses the power.

          You can’t fix government by giving it more power.

          1. When government gains tyrannical power, does that situation eventually lead to correction of and from the people it oppresses?

            The book of Judges in the Bible comes to mind.

          2. @Daniel,

            Sometimes, yes, but not always. There have been peoples that have lived under one form of oppressive government or another for thousands of years. (Some of the Asian governments come to mind.) What usually happens is the people just put their heads down and try to survive while the intrigue of the politics plays on about them. Those are usually the people that become victims in mass genocide or refugees if TPTB decide they don’t like them or they are in the way.
            The population of the U.S. seems to be an anomaly in world history. We seem to have attracted an abundance of independent minded people. However, the more urban we become, the less I see that spirit.

          3. I’m not sure you even read what I had written. ” I am quite happy that the government can subpoena the records to get to the truth.”


            That is the law of the land. It is constitutional. YES, I want our government to fight crime in a constitutional manner. Simple as that. You don’t need to change or misinterpret what I said to make a point.

          4. @GoneWithTheWind
            I did read what you wrote and I understand you point perfectly. I agree with your stance as long as the government behaves and stays within the boundaries that it is supposed to. However, what is missing here is the fact that governments (all of them) don’t stay within those well defined boundaries. As I previously said, history is full of examples from every government, from every continent, from every age, where the government refuses to abide by those boundaries. Just because it is legal today does not mean it will be legal tomorrow. What will you do when the government decides that you are now a target. I use the gun registration as an example because it is easy to understand, but information collection is the heart of the issue.

            If your government creates a database of information that contains stuff on you, that information will eventually be used against you. The point I’m making is that there should be a “SUBPOENA” to collect the information, not just one to read the information. You should have the right to make the collection of that information as difficult as possible for someone who has no right to be collecting it in the first place.

          5. You are right, governments continue to grow, overstep and coopt power. It is the citizens job to stop it. Maybe it is inevitable like the sun coming up in the morning. Maybe all governments self destruct like Rome. But the citizens/voters do have the control. We allow our government to “buy” votes with free stuff and those votes elect the very people that lead to financial and societal collapse. All that is necessary for the forces of evil to win is for enough good men to do nothing.

        2. Is it the government alone that needs fixing? Are government officials the only ones with power? Do common men not possess the potential for power? Who did Boxer, from Animal Farm, represent?

          “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – John Adams

          “Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites…in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves. Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.” – Edmund Burke

          1. Good day,

            As the writer of theconomic letter my impetus towards providing the article is to let readers know they are being tracked.

            It may be that simple advertisement agencies want to promote goods. However these tracking firms create a profile of your browsing habits. These include an age group and your political leanings based on the sites you have visited.

            This information is sold to third party groups.

            In the wrong hands this information can be used to target individuals.

            Ask yourself, who are these “companies” and who are the third parties they sell the information to?

            As a footnote “Antifa” has been declared a domestic terrorist organization only several weeks after the government suppeoned the 2.3 million people who visited their website.

            I hold little interest in “Antifa” or their website. However, where will this end?

            Will Libertarian, gun owning, Christians; be further down the list?

            Given our countries current trajectory we are headed into civil war, or a truly totalitarian state; in which personal freedoms and beliefs are subject to prosecution.

            As a footnote I will say that this site has the least amount of “trackers” listed by search engines such as Ghostery or Epic Search Engine compared to the dizzying amounts of data collection firms on other so called survival sites.

            Prepare accordingly.

            God bless,

          2. SurvivalBlog does have to track click-throughs for our advertisers, but we refuse to outsource that information. We use an internal tracker and we only record totals, not individual click information. We also use statcounter.com for third-party verification of site traffic (again, for advertisers) because services like Alexa, Google and others are notoriously inaccurate unless you give them free reign on your web site (which we refuse to do.)
            One of the absolute worst offenders is Google AdSense (and Analytics). This will never be allowed on SurvivalBlog.
            Occasionally, we get an advertiser that demands to use their own tracker (like doubleclick)

          3. I think most companies collect logs of visitors by IP address for a variety of purposes (such as error detection, for example).

            The NSA or other “spook” agencies may be collecting that information without a subpoena, but I think that in this case, the “Antifa” website probably had those records anyway, and the government just had to get the subpoena to get what had already been collected from the site owners.

            Duckduckgo claims that they deliberately do not collect these logs; that’s an unusual policy.

          4. @Hugh James Latimer

            The US does have a greater share of independently minded people.

            Have you looked into the history of Christianity, particularly with a mind to this topic, beginning with Rome?

            Rome broke into two halves: east and west. When we refer to “Western nations” today, that term can be traced back to the divide of Rome. A study of Christianity in relation to government authority over that period of history is very revealing.

            That spirit of independence, of freedom? I suggest that wherever it has flourished, Christianity also flourished.

            “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” – 2 Corinthians 3:17

    2. I disagree altogether and know my opinion will not be a popular one, even with the “constitutional” crowd, of which I was once a member.

      I have been pursuaded, enlightened maybe, too the fact that nobody has the right to rule me, period. It’s not too day that I don’t have an obligation to live a moral life and not infringe on the person or property of others, but that’s where my obligation ends.

      Government cannot objectively have any legitimacy, as is premise is that people can get together and “vote” to do something to someone that they don’t have the right to do as individuals. It’s illogical.

      If I can’t do something, like take your money to pay for my child’s education, no amount of mental gymnastics can justify me and a couple of my friends from “deciding” to take your money up pay for our kids’ education.

      Consent of the governed is an oxymoron. If it’s consent, it’s voluntary? If you’re being governed, it is not.

      Despite all the fearmongering to the contrary, anarchy is NOT chaos, it’s the absence of rulers. You can have rules without rulers.

      1. Apogolgies for the typos. Using an iPhone with my old eyes and autocorrect is a bad idea

        I hope you all will forgive me and understand what the intent of my commentary is without being too upset over the spelling, which isn’t mine.

  6. They can’t block your Internet Service Provider from seeing your IP address, or you wouldn’t have working Internet. ☺️ Concerning your ISP selling your browsing data, I would recommend using a good VPN. If all they see is your traffic going to a VPNs address, not much to sell. I’ll have to look at this browser. Piqued my interest. Of course, there’s TOR, but I can’t remember to get familiar with it when I actually have time.

    1. Good day Sir,
      For further clarification it is to my understanding that the browser bounces your iP a address to another geographical region much like TOR.

      Goder bless,

  7. The best privacy tool I have found is a VPN and suggest PIA (private internet access). I use firefox and in addition to Ghostery there is Disconnect which blocks tracking cookies. Spybot Anti-beacon is useful to prevent the Windows OS from reporting back to Microsoft. I also use CCleaner and have created a bat file I run after each session that cleans my DNS and runs CCleaner to erase all my cookies (except the ones I want to keep) and also erase the temp files, etc. I also went to Adobe and set it up so that no “long-term” adobe flash cookies are stored on my computer. I use DDG (duck-duck go) and smartpage. I do not save browsing or download history. I do not allow suggestions from bookmarks for the search engines. I also use NOSCRIPT which is probably overkill… but very informative. Hope this helps with your privacy efforts. MP

  8. As others have said, I use Private Internet Access VPN (switched from Hide My Ass a few years ago), Startpage, Privacy Badger (used to use Ghostery too), BLUR (lifetime subscription for masked emails and phone #’s), and just recently switched from Chrome to Opera (still testing and going well). I feel the need to get away (RUN) from Google.

  9. Been in the IT security realm for 20+ years. Here is a simple routine for the “unskilled” users.

    1) Firefox (keep it updated – regularly)
    2) startpage.com
    3) Set browser (whatever brand) to delete all cookies, passwords, etc. each time browser is closed
    3 a) Turn off tabbed browsing
    4) Close browser between websites. (Tedious but effective)ESPecially after sites where username/password required
    5) Use multiple e-mail accounts/addresses. Have a layered approach as to who gets access to an address. If they behave, give them an address closer to your “favorite” address.

  10. For Firefox, NoScript is essential, though it can be rather obnoxious to use (Chrome’s alternative is ScriptSafe).

    Chrome typically comes bundled with the Google updating software, and other hidden “goodies”. To get around this problem, look for the “Portable Apps” version of Chrome, or, look for “Chromium”, both of which are missing the invasive “goodies”.

    Both Firefox and Chrome support uMatrix, which is similar to Firefox’s NoScript and Chrome’s ScriptSafe in behavior (it blocks connections as opposed to executable code).

    All of this to say that you are going to run into a new problem: if, for example, you have Firefox with both uMatrix and NoScript enabled at their default level of security, you’ll be playing a lot of “minesweeper” on every single site which you want to do anything more than read text.

    To alleviate this problem, one solution is to have both browsers installed as follows: use one browser as your default “reading” browser, and the other as your “interactive” browser. The “reading” browser has both uMatrix and the appropriate script blocking extension installed (NoScript, ScriptSafe); the “interactive” browser has just the script blocking extension installed.

    Another solution is to open Chrome in “Incognito Mode” whenever you want to interact with a page. “Incognito Mode” automatically disables all extensions (and protection).

    I have practiced this method of browsing since 2010, and taught it to friends and family members. I personally haven’t run anti-virus on my computers since 2010, and I’ve advised my family and friends similarly; none of us have been infected with malware (that we know of). I don’t advise doing this unless you use NoScript or ScriptSafe at their default security level on all sites you visit, and provided you are very careful with opening email attachments (clicking on links in emails becomes perfectly safe, provided you use a protected browser and don’t deliberately allow shady looking sites).

    Good security takes discipline.

    I don’t recommend relying solely on advertisement blocking tools (regardless of how complex they are) because the philosophy behind such tools is “uncontrolled” – the tool only gives you control over known “bad” sources. For secure computer use, you want “controlled allow”: you allow only what you consider to be “good”, and nothing else.

    PS: none of what I said addresses the IP address tracking concern; for that problem, you’ll need a VPN or proxy. However, most advertising tracking that I’ve seen is done via scripts (for all intents and purposes, these ‘scripts’ are full blown programs) that can easily be blocked in your browser.

  11. I generally use IE at work, as that is the required/supported browser for one of the main companies I electronically engage with all day, every day. I don’t take breaks, and as such am permitted to occasionally conduct personal searches/business on my work computer. I work for bosses that actually treat me like an adult. I can search for something at work, then come home and open up either my desktop (I use Firefox,) or my iPad (I use Safari,) and I will see ads from multiple sources for exactly what I was looking for on my work computer. I do not judiciously employ tracking countermeasures. I believe they are a lot of hassle for very little return. If retail companies are sophisticated enough to tie multiple devices directly to me, and network targeted ads to all these devices, certainly any government agency that wants to know my internet activities is able to do so quite easily, and thoroughly. If one believes they can isolate their activities out of this process, they are deluding themselves. Also, I regularly see TOR mentioned as a highly secure VPN. However, it should be noted that it has been common knowledge for some time, that TOR has been cracked by, and is monitored by, our government agencies. One can effectively reduce their casual electronic footprint with a number of measures, but those who really want to know what you are up to, know. Quite simply, if you use the Internet, you are not anonymous.

  12. …And MAC addresses, the connection between your computer purchase (its serial number/mac address. Etc) any warranty or support info you may have registered for (Geeksquad, etc) and even the point of sale captured data when using credit cards/check/debit that comes back to you.

    And have you ordered pizza or take out? Several data base company’s have purchased that info for many uses and further sales to ad companies and LE…

  13. I was reading through this thread. Concerning the ‘collection’ of info on the populace. It best can be expanded upon for more thorough comprehension.
    Let’s say its JUST data.
    What sites I go to.
    It’s also EZ-Pass.
    It’s also debit cards.
    It’s medical records.
    It’s texts and calls. Recieved and sent.
    So, martial law kicks in. Courts are established to “review” those whom TPTB want under control.
    Per my debit card usage I can be considered an alcoholic because I buy two beers every day after work.
    And medical records reveal I was once on valium.
    Now I’m a depressive/reactive.
    I corresponded with Bill Cooper.
    Now I’m part of the dreaded “Patriot” movement. A rebel.
    And! I own a gun.
    And EZ-pass shows I used it coincidently while two neighboring states were holding gun shows. and the fact that family lives in those states means nothing.
    AND!!! HOLY SHTF Batman!!!! He visits the Rawles website several times a week!!
    He is definitely a guy WE WANT TO KEEP AN EYE ON.

    Add to that the fact that back in 1999 I posted an analysis about the final solar eclipse and a connection to topics best left unwritten about for now, which had me under watch for several months. By that I mean cars parked near my home at night with people who never exited, but eventually drove off.
    At first it was amusing. Then it just became “uncomfortable”. And yes, I DID approach a car once and it sped off.

    My Dad worked for IBM. Back in the 70’s he talked about a place in PA where they monitored phone calls. Phone calls. And this back in the 70’s. At that time entering in a SS# could provide info on your neighbors by disclosing info collected on you.
    We are in 2017. How much data on how many people?
    And what say do we have about how it will be used?

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