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6 Tips To Protect Online Search Privacy

Concerns over privacy and the use of online search are at an all-time high. Here's how to create a strong shield for privacy.

The Electronic Frontier Foundations, an advocacy group for online privacy, has released six tips for consumers who would prefer to remain as anonymous as possible when using search engines.

Concern over privacy and the use of online search was heightened last month when Internet service provider AOL acknowledged publishing the search histories of 650,000 users on its Web site. Even though the users' names were withheld, The New York Times and others discovered the identities of several of them.

To ensure that search queries remain private, the EFF published six tips to protect privacy:

-- Don't search for your own name, address, or other personally identifying information;

-- Don't use your ISP's search engine, since the company can link a person's identity to his searches;

-- Avoid logging in to a search engine or its related tools;

-- Block cookies from search engines;

-- Broadband users should turn off their modems at least once a day to change the IP addresses their ISPs automatically assign to computers each time subscribers log on;

-- Finally, use anonymizing software, such as Tor.

The EFF, based in San Francisco, acknowledged that the six steps do not provide bulletproof protection, but they do create a "strong shield" for privacy.

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