Frequently Asked Questions

Privacy and Personal Data

The privacy of your personal data is important. If personal data is misused, it can impact many aspects of your life. Data privacy violations do not just result in annoying marketing, they can result in the manipulation of news in your social timelines, poor commercial decisions based on sensitive information, and even identity theft.

The decisions about how our personal data is collected, shared, stored, etc., should be in the hands of the individual that the data represents. Respect for privacy is a right, and search engines, like Privado, take a privacy-first approach to make sure your data privacy is under your control.

Personal data is any information that can be used or linked together to identify an individual. This includes name, address, date of birth, zip code, and even IP address. Personal data can also include cookie ID, behavioral data and biometric information (e.g., fingerprint). Various privacy regulations (such as the EU GDPR) extend the definition of personal details to include things like membership of a trade union. Health data can also be included under personal data, and regulations such as the U.S. HIPAA health law, says that data, such as DNA, is a personal identifier.

Unless a search engine is privacy-respectful, like Privado, it will collate personally identifiable information (PII) such as IP address and search data, which could be used to identify an individual.

Privacy is about control of personal data. Consent can be a way of providing a degree of control over the use of personal data. Legislation, such as GDPR, uses consent to enforce certain privacy actions: Google was recently fined $170 million for collecting and processing the data of children without parental permission. Privacy regulations such as Canada’s PIPEDA and the EU’s GDPR use consent as a cornerstone of user control in data processing.

Computer cookies can make the whole experience of internet browsing and website use neater. But there is a darker side to cookies too. A computer cookie is a small data file that is used to track visitors to a website and what they do whilst on that site. There are both persistent and session-only cookies.

Cookies are created when you visit a website. They have useful properties, such as ensuring websites you regularly use reflect your preferences and even store passwords for easier online login. These cookies are known as ‘first-party cookies’

However, cookies are the reason those annoying marketing ads pop up as you navigate the web. Third-party cookies are usually created by ads on a webpage, even if you do not click on that ad. They can also be generated by Facebook ‘Like’ buttons and similar. Advertising services analyze these data to develop an understanding of your browsing habits. These data are then used to serve up ads as you move around the internet. There is a move to make changes to how third-party cookies work and they may be phased out by 2022.

Privacy and security are not the same, but they are linked.

Privacy is about how personal data is collected and processed – individual control over the use of personal data is part of robust privacy.

Security measures, such as encryption and login credentials (authentication) are used to secure data and prevent exposure. Security is a practical way to augment the privacy of personal data by reducing the risk of its exposure from a data breach.

Private search engines such as Privado are part of a holistic approach to ensuring personal data privacy and control.

A Privacy Policy is a legal agreement. The document describes how personal data is collected and processed and what measures are used to keep it safe. Typically, a Privacy Policy contains the following:

  • What data is collected
  • Why it is collected
  • Who the data is shared with and why?
  • Data transfer details
  • Use of cookies
  • Any third-party affiliates that may use the data and why

Privacy policies are often mandated by privacy regulations such as the GDPR. Privacy policies should be accessible and easy to comprehend. They are typically used alongside the consent mechanism used (e.g., opt-in box) when personal data is collected.

Search Engines and Privacy

Search engines such as Google are a vital part of the internet ecosystem. However, they are also a way for personal data to be collected and so can place privacy at risk. Search engines typically collect the following data:

  1. IP address
  2. Search queries
  3. Browser cookie ID
  4. Location
  5. Device ID

The type of data that is collected by search engines can be highly sensitive and can be used to ‘connect the dots’ on an individual. Research has shown that you can link search engine data to an individual.

This lack of respect for privacy in search engines has led to the development of private search engines, such as Privado. Private search engines are designed to not store personally identifiable data such as search queries, and other personal data.

There are options to configure a browser to improve privacy such as the ‘Incognito’ mode in the Chrome browser. These privacy-enhanced modes are meant to delete browsing history, search history, and cookies. They may also limit web tracking as they stop cookie retention.

However, the private browsing mode does not stop your data from being transferred to your internet service provider. It simply stops the saving of your browsing history data (e.g. cookies) being stored locally; in that respect, private browsing is useful for shared computers.

Private mode browsing does not prevent the collection of personal data when you use a search engine unless you use it in conjunction with a private search engine, such as Privado.

Deeper Dive into Privacy

Choosing the level of personal privacy, you feel comfortable with, should be down to the individual. However, in a world where data is regularly shared without your knowledge or consent, there are many challenges in achieving control over your personal data. Here are a few tips to helping control your digital life and improving your privacy position:

  1. Use a private search engine such as Privado. This will ensure that your internet searches are not stored. A private search engine will also make sure that other personal data is not collected and used to identify you for advertising or other reasons.
  2. Install a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on your devices. A VPN can help to enhance your privacy and protect any data you share between your browser and a website. However, it becomes somewhat ineffective if you have logged into an account such as Google as this allows for personal data to be linked.
  3. Do not login to Google when you perform an internet search.
  4. If you use a digital assistant, such as Amazon Alexa, consider deleting recorded conversations.
  5. Check your social media privacy settings and set them to a sharing level you feel comfortable with
  6. Do not overshare personal data, including details on holidays, etc., on public forums, such as social posts
  7. Avoid risky situations using like free Wi-Fi hotspots when sharing sensitive data, including login credentials
  8. Check mobile app privacy settings and make sure the app is not tracking your location, etc.

This is a difficult and complex question to answer. Privacy professionals, lawyers, and digital identity experts are debating this point. The GDPR does not specifically address this point, even though it is legislation committed to protecting the privacy of personal data.

Ownership is a complex legal area. Governments, for example, could argue they own a passport as they issue it. However, the use of these data can potentially be under your control and therefore, to an extent, your ownership.

Anonymization and pseudonymization of personal data are a type of technical measure used to enhance privacy. Both attempt to remove the links in data that can be used to identify an individual. The two measures are, however, different:

Anonymization: This technique removes all identifiers and the anonymized data cannot be relinked back to an individual. It is often used in healthcare to anonymize highly sensitive patient data for use in medical research.

Pseudonymization: This uses a method of replacing identifying data with alternative identifiers that do not easily link back to an individual. Pseudonymization is potentially reversible with the right conditions and knowledge applied.

Both options can help to enhance privacy when applied to the relevant use cases. Both have had criticism, and research has shown that linking back to an individual can be done, under certain conditions.

Regulatory bodies across the globe have been or are currently working on legislation to reflect the growing awareness of data privacy. Some examples include:

Europe: The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into law on 25, May 2018. This has stringent layers of protection for the personal data of European citizens in EU states and can impact businesses across the world.

Canada: The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) has been around since April 13, 2000. It applies to the private sector, for-profit, companies who process personal data.

USA: Currently the USA has a state approach to privacy, but this may change to federal law in the coming years. If so, it may take a similar form to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) which entered law on January 1, 2020. The CCPA requires organizations that provide services to California residents to abide by the specified privacy.

UK: The Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA2018) has much in common with the GDPR.

Australia: There are both federal and state laws on data privacy in Australia. The Privacy Act 1988 is the federal law dealing with the use of personal data.

Japan: The Personal Information Protection Act (PPC, PIPA) took effect on 30, May 2017. PIPA has some similarities to the EU’s GDPR.

Using Privado

Privado Private Search is available as a browser extension for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, as well as a Mobile Widget. Users who do not wish to install Privado may log on to https://www.privado.com/ and type in the search query.

To uninstall a browser extension, please follow these steps:

Google Chrome:

Go to settings > More Tools > Extensions

On the list of extensions, locate the Privado Extension and select Remove, or use the slider button to disable, in case you may wish to activate Privado again in the future.


Mozilla Firefox:

Go to menu> Add-ons >

On the list of Add-ons, locate the Privado Extension and select Remove, or use the slider button to disable, in case you may wish to activate Privado again in the future.

Privado search results, both organic and sponsored, are based on the search query you have entered. Results are not biased by your age, gender, or other personal data. As we continue to innovate on behalf of our users, new features are added all the time, but one thing stays constant. We respect your privacy.

If you still have a question which was not covered here, please contact the team here