Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Conroy's Filter - Public Service Announcement
May I recommend Startpage Australia to anyone who finds the Conroy filter insulting, demeaning or ominous?
This is a Netherlands-based meta-search engine* from the company Ixquick. It claims to be the most private search engine in the world by deleting user IP addresses after searching, using SSL encryption and using an integrated proxy to anonymise all traffic linked through search results. In other words, if you search for "euthanasia help" through this engine, your IP address (and thus your identity) is not revealed to any site which you access by directly following the search page link. If you bookmarked that page and later followed the bookmark, your personal IP address would be visible to that site.The proxy part also means that your ISP - which will have to apply Conroy's filter - can't see your search terms and therefore can't block or record them. Proxies apparently work to circumvent China's Great Firewall as well as the Conroy Wall of Ignorance.
The European privacy consortium, EuroPriSe, found Ixquick deleted all non-personal information within 14 days, and awarded the company its first ICT-focused privacy seal in 2008, so this isn't like Facebook. They really seem to provide privacy.
No doubt there will be any number of ways of brushing aside this ludicrous filter but if enough people use this one, they may put their servers in Australia, thus improving its speed.
*Meta-search simply means that they submit your search terms to Google, Yahoo, Bing, Altavista, uncle Tom Cobleigh and all, and send back to you a summary of the results. Sorry if you knew that already. You can go back and unread the first sentence of this para if you're a fellow geek. Actually, if you apply that recursively, this would be the only sentence left and a very confusing one at that.