Google offers users a free, superior online experience and services such as email, search, maps, etc. in exchange for your web browsing privacy. Now thanks to an independent security researcher who goes by the name Moxie Marlinspike, you can get all of Google’s freebies without having to sacrifice your privacy. He just launched a Firefox plug-in called Googlesharing, which gives users access to Google’s online services while cloaking their identity from the company’s data collection tools. The way that it works is it sends your Internet requests through another computer that hides your identity and mixes it up with those of other users.
“Each identity looks like a normal user, but everything is mixed up between identities so Google can’t track any individual” says Marlinspike.
Googlesharing hides your online privacy from everyone but one person: Marlinspike himself, and in case you don’t even trust him, he offers the source code to you for free to create your own proxy.
“If you don’t trust us, you can find someone who you do trust,” he says.
But is all this really necessary? Or are these the people that use proxy services like this one just paranoid? Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt tells us that the fears of governments using our web history to try to convict us of crimes might just be true:
“If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place… The reality is that search engines–including Google–do retain this information for some time and it’s important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities”
Googlesharing is not the only proxy you can use to keep your online identity safe, there are others like Tor, which provides increased security, but slows you down a bit since it redirects all your Internet requests through 3 different servers. Other sites like Ixquick.com or Scroogle.com only offer to keep your searches private, but not any other of Google’s services. For the most ease of use, and without sacrificing speed, try out Googlesharing.