Browsing security

The news is full of the story of AOL giving away search history. Yes, Google withstood a government request to see data, but others caved in and turned it over. Google says they keep everything for a month and it is under tight security. I’m not persuaded they need to keep anything at all, and I’m sure most people didn’t know they did this.

Is there any privacy protection using Devon Agent? Do you keep a history of every search I make? If so, how long do you keep it, and how well is it protected?

I think I understand that Devon Agent is an “aggregator” (is that the right term?), querying multiple search engines; is my computer identified at each of those sites?

Just enable private browsing and DEVONagent doesn’t remember last visited sites (history), doesn’t remember search terms (search history) and doesn’t use the disk cache.

It could be identified if your Internet connection has a static IP address (but that’s true for ANY access to web sites).

You can use tor encrypted tunnelling system and privoxy but either are ppc compiled and outdated :frowning:

DCBerk wrote:

Just to clarify, DEVONtechnologies keeps no record of your searches. But your computer does keep a history, unless, as Christian suggested, you select the private browsing feature of DEVONagent. Then the computer that you are using doesn’t keep the history of the sites you have visited and the searches you have made.

As to your question about the other search engines that DEVONagent uses and, for that matter, email and other uses of the Internet you may make using DEVONagent or other applications, the answer is that you should never assume that any communication you make on the Internet is necessarily private. An email message that you send may, for example, be stored in multiple locations on the Internet or archived by your ISP and the receiver’s host and computer.

I do online banking and make online purchases using a credit card. I do so with full knowledge of the potentials that my funds could be diverted by a bad guy. It’s never happened to me, but it does happen. On the other hand, my bank and credit card company have agreed to protect me if I’m taking reasonable care, so my overall risk is slight compared to the convenience.

As a practical matter your government probably isn’t in the least interested in you. Your privacy concerns are much more likely to be real for anyone interested in marketing goods or services to you, or stealing your identity and your banking password.

Have you noticed that Amazon is watching what you do on their site and may suggest other items that you might be interested in buying? Or that Google is watching what you search and may tailor ads related to your possible interests?

When you walk down a street in a city you are being observed by other people, walking past shop surveillance cameras and in general you are not in a private venue. If a crime occurs in a bank while you are walking past it, the odds are good that any surveillance cameras in the vicinity will be requested by a law enforcement agency, and they may watch you as you walked past the bank – and then ignore you if you weren’t doing anything suspicious. But a lot of crimes have been solved with the use of surveillance camera information and information from witnesses, and most of us would agree that is good.

The Internet isn’t a private venue, by its very nature. The entities that you do business with may monitor and record your behavior with the objective of increasing the business you do with them – and those are the good guys. There are many bad guys that would like to insert spyware on your computer (much easier to do on PCs than on Macs) in order to steal your financial and other private information, rather like pickpockets on the street who would like to steal your wallet – only more dangerous in reality. And then there are the guys who would like to kill you, without knowing or caring about you as a person.

It’s literally impossible to use the Internet without leaving some record somewhere, even if you use encrypted communications. So try never to write an email that would be embarrassing if it appears on the front page of the New York Times.

Perhaps a modern day Thoreau could achieve privacy by retreating to a Walden Pond, with no Internet connection. But even Thoreau himself “blew it” by recounting his period of privacy for the whole world to read, a literary treasure for which we are grateful. And after a couple of years he couldn’t stand it anymore. :slight_smile: