Edward Snowden Took To Social Media And Voiced His Concerns Of Search Engines Usability And Their Privacy Practices

Edward Snowden recently took to Twitter, expressing his disappointment with search engines and the results that they provide across the board.

If there’s anyone who gets to express disappointment over technology, privacy and information, it’s Mr. Snowden. I’m pretty sure his name needs no introduction, but for some of our younger readers, Mr. Snowden was a computer intelligence consultant who worked for the CIA. He achieved much acknowledgement, both positive and negative, in exposing the NSA through a series of WikiLeaks articles. Revealing that the NSA another other such organizations were actively spying on their own citizens, essentially mimicking a police state, was not taken to very kindly by the red-handed US government. Snowden fled to Russia, with his US passport having been revoked. The man is still, however, a very active part of online discussions and debate surrounding privacy laws. In fact, one could even argue that his initial expose of the NSA is what has led to netizen privacy and security being such a recognized and topical issue nowadays.

Snooping and spying corporations is one thing, however. Search engines don’t really pop up in conversations regarding national security and individual liberties. So, why the sudden hubbub about how search engines are basically unusable? Well, the conversation arose from a series of tweets made by Snowden that actively condemned search engines, name-dropping Google Search in particular, stating that one couldn’t even make a simple search without sacrificing their own privacy in the process. When implored to further elaborate on his statements, he stated that search engines often don’t give out good results. In cases such as with Google Search, and many other browsers, even if good results are acquired, they come with the additive price of sacrificing a facet or more of one’s privacy. Google demands cookies, has improper Tor blocking, and is very hostile from the get-go, what with captchas being asked for as soon as someone tries private browsing. Even attempting to access Search with a VPN installed requires a lot of other additive safety measures to keep oneself in check.

This isn’t the first time that search engines, and more specifically Google Search, have been criticized for their usability and privacy policies. While engines don’t really receive the brunt of the privacy and online security hate, their role in the debate is being more and more recognized. Particularly, engines such as DuckDuckGo, which pride themselves on providing a user-safety-first approach to surfing, have been vocal about Google Search and its rather unseemly manipulation of a userbase that just wants help with their homework.

Photo: Getty

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