Removing Your All-Too-Visible Internet Search History
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August 5, 2011
By Holly Deyo
After listening to Katherine Albrecht again Tuesday night on Coast To Coat AM, I was reminded to clear my Google search history. Clearing browser history is something everyone who uses a search engine should do regularly.
This was underscored yesterday after hearing Judge Napolitano reveal how government wants to access your Google search history WITHOUT A WARRANT. Congress is about to vote on legislation that would require all Internet providers to keep everyone's search history for 1 year at their expense not the government's. Beyond searches, this history includes every visit, every click, every hit, every email, etc. you perform. Everyone using GMail for email really needs to jump ship as your privacy is exposed more than most.
We're assuming this massive government overgrasp applies to Yahoo, Bing and other engines. In Bing's favor, they make finding how to clear your search history very obvious. At the bottom of the left-hand menu, it says Search History and you just follow the trail from there.
For Yahoo, like Google, it took more nosing around to locate the Clear Your Internet Search History. When clearing browser history from Yahoo's instructions, it's evident they don't keep up with browsers' Tools Menu as mine looked nothing like what Yahoo said it should. (We primarily use Firefox, once in a great while, Safari.) Maybe they are more current with other browsers like Internet Explorer or Chrome, etc.
Google was much more current, but finding the instructions was another story.
How to clear your search history on Google used to be easily located on their site. To do so, you need to find "Support", which is now conspicuously invisible. However, I'd screen previously snapped the URL and retyped it. Voila! The Delete Search History page popped up.
If you still wish to use Google after clearing your personal history DAILY, would suggest you copy down and keep this web address: www.google.com/support/websearch/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=465#browser
Below is the full page snap of how to get rid of the nosy info they keep on you.
If you want to search and don't need breaking news or all of the other enticing products like Maps, Shopping, etc. that Google offers, then consider StartPage. They've vastly improved their search engine, which now incorporates as many search returns as Google by using a Google "enhancement". You get the search scope of Google, yet when you click on a site, you are invisible to them.
It's not that anyone is searching for stuff that the world can't know, but why should they be privy to every nook and cranny of your existence? For example, people with health issues could really benefit from expected privacy. Imagine that someone has a heart condition or diabetes and they want to know what symptoms to watch for or course of treatment. If government gets its way, it would have access to all of your health search history and concerns that could conceivably make its way into both employers and insurance companies hands. It could impact whether or not you are hired or how high your insurance rates soar.
Increasingly government situates itself into our lives from literally millions of strategically placed cameras, to mobile biometrics and facial recognition, to too-revealing airport scanners, to having to register nearly every aspect of our lives just to function. Despite repeated requests this data gathering and lack of time are the primary reasons I don't do social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Sharing info about every morsel one has for lunch or what one's wearing that day can't be interesting unless their IQ registers in double digits. We'd all fare better to interact more with people than our keyboards.
This proposed legislation Judge Napolitano warned of is yet another government intrusion into our lives. Sigh....