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SearX is a search engine recommended by privacytools.io. I liked the idea of a fully open-sourced and user controlled search engine and I also installed a docker image with SearX in my local machine which works great. Eventhough I installed SearX I dont fully understand how it protects users privacy in a private instance. I know it is a meta-search engine which aggregates result from popular search engines.

I am using google,bing and yahoo as the default search engine in my local SearX. When we search for something in our local SearX it should send our IP address and keywords to these three search engines simultaneously and then SearX fetches the result and show us in our local SearX. Now these three have all our keyword search details and ip addresses comparing to if I sticked only to one search engine. How SearX private instances protects users privacy?

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This article explains the question in-depth: https://asciimoo.github.io/searx/user/own-instance.html .

In short: searx does much more than just forwarding your browser activities to third-party search services and it can be configured to use proxies or tor. To prevent third-party tracking, searx provides protection against tracking cookies, tracking HTTP headers, tracking pixels and malicious front-end scripts.

  • Hi I beilive you are the programmer for searX if yes then thanks for tihs amazing project. Can I ask how do we pass parameter in our local searx url some thing like http://localhost:8888/search?keyword=This+my+search – Eka May 11 '18 at 15:45
  • I have found out the solution that is to use GET but if I am correct full url can be viewed by a third party because the connection is not secure. Can I give you two suggestions 1) is it possible to add https to localhost in the docker itself? 2) Can we randomize search engines after t time? say first 10 minutes google then randomly select other 10 minutes bing as search engine and soon. Such a way that no single search engine has all the informations – Eka May 11 '18 at 16:29
  • 1) SSL isn't necessary on a local machine, the network traffic never goes public. 2) Currently it isn't supported, but you can specify the search engines you want to use: asciimoo.github.io/searx/user/search_syntax.html – asciimoo May 11 '18 at 18:23
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Well, SearX is great, if used by more than one user. At least your family, possibly friends or even everyone in your area. The big search engines would not be able to say who is searching for what, only the private instance would. However, if you want additional protection, try using a VPN/Tor/proxy to hide the IP of your private instance. Without some IP hiding and many users using it, SearX does not actually increase privacy, but privacy is not really what it was mainly designed for. It tries to circumvent censorship by using multiple search engines. It decreases the likelihood someone can control what you are able to see. Imagine for example google not showing its privacy issues and data breaches in its results.

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