DuckDuckGo to the Rescue (of my privacy)

Real Estate Agent with Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) DB-17066

Today, I logged into yet another amazing ActiveRain Zoom weekly Zoom call.  Today, Paddy Deighan MBA JD PhD covered some great points regarding Artificial Intelligence and more.

One thing he taught me was that you could use DuckDuckGo as an extension while still using Google Chrome.  I thought I would give it a try so I installed the extension.

That taught me a Bonus Lesson too!  The very first time I used my search bar it came up with this notification stating it had blocked Facebook from tracking that search!

I double checked and I didn't even have Facebook open on any of my tabs at the time!

The same crap happens when you just talk about something around one of your devices these days.  Haven't you noticed how you could be talking about something extremely obscure and then it starts popping up on advertising feeds on your devices and social media?  They say it is just a coincidence and that because we we just talking about it we are just more aware of the advertising.  I bet if you talked about the smallest country you can think of, it will start appearing as ads to fly there, hotels there, etc.

Think of the potential psychological impacts of this push marketing.  What if you have difficulty with depression and you keep getting bombarded with articles and ads for depression.  Would that make it worse?  If you want to quit smoking and your ads start showing cigarettes all day?

Maybe the solution is to log in a few times a day and asking for positive affirmations; happy thoughts; soothing sunsets; beach scenes; etc.  Would your ads start being more positive and a mini dose of virtual Prozac instead?

I wonder how many Prozac ads this blog will generate?

It will be interesting to see what else DuckDuckGo blocks but so far, I am impressed!



Comments (33)

Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Jim:

Thanks for the information, and in particular for the comment about Duck Duck Go from Ray Herron. Very helpful.


Sep 27, 2023 09:51 AM
Jim Paulson

Ray is a very bright guy and lives in the tech world.  I appreciated his in depth explanation as well.

Sep 30, 2023 02:13 PM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Privacy is just a word now. It has even become a beguilement of a sort. Personal, as in about you info is at extreme risk.  Where are we going with all this? Are humans just going to become items of manipulation? To what end? What is the point? Money, power or fame? These shallow endeavors stay here while the virtuous go on. Go on then taking stock in your character & transparency. All the rest is food for the worms

Sep 27, 2023 10:38 AM
Jim Paulson

I smiled when I saw your face again Richie Alan Naggar.  It has been a while since we crossed paths on ActiveRain.  I don't care for shallow people.  There is a good movie about that although not well rated, Shallow Hal.

Sep 30, 2023 02:22 PM
Richie Alan Naggar

I enjoy you Jim Paulson 

Sep 30, 2023 02:57 PM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Broker Retired

Very illuminating plus your friends explanation.

Sep 27, 2023 10:55 AM
Doug Dawes
Keller Williams Evolution - 447 Boston Street Topsfield, MA - Georgetown, MA
Your Personal Realtor®

Hello Jim Paulson 

What I have learned is this; our every movement is being recorded. Our phones have GPS our vehicles have WIFI connections and Navigation. Every month I get emails that detail everywhere I went and how long I was there. Even at home with the phone in the other room, it will occasionally blurt out "I didn't understand that" The darn thing is picking up and listening to our conversation!! Never mind the camera in your monitor or laptop and what they are doing with that AND don't let me forget the Smart TV and its capabilities of monitoring you. Am I being

Sep 27, 2023 11:15 AM
Jim Paulson

Doug Dawes I don't think you are being paranoid at all.  I compliment you for being situationally aware.  I ponder what would happen if all this electronic surveillance (spying?) could be used for good?

The main things I can think of are: 1) It helps the advertising agencies; 2)  It helps traffic analytics on our mapping apps. 

Oct 01, 2023 08:52 AM
Diana Zaccaro Broker Associate
Tropical Beachside brokered by eXp - Cocoa Beach, FL
"The Accidental Blogger" Cocoa Beach, Florida

I use Edge with DuckDuckGo and AdBlock Plus which Ryan Huggins - Thousand Oaks, CA mentioned a couple years ago because of lack of privacy with Chrome and have been happy with the current setup. I don't have a problem with ads thanks to AdBlock Plus so can't comment on that.

A few months ago I posted a Q in the Q&A about motion and light sensors when I found a setting for those on the laptop. There is a lot of good information in the comments there if you want to check it out.

I am fairly certain there must be some kind of motion sensor in either the cable box or TV in my home office. I noticed that when I step away from my desk for a while and return, the TV shows no signal and I have to push the reset button or turn if off and on again. Light sensors are a different conversation.

Sep 27, 2023 12:20 PM
Jim Paulson

Thanks Diana Zaccaro Broker Associate I will try to locate that Q&A.  

For the past two years, I have attended the Consumer Electronics Show and am blown away by the technology in today's "smart homes".  For example, you walk into a room and it detects you so it readjusts to your personal settings for lighting, audio, temperature, etc.  I suggested to the propeller head (aka IT staff) at Samsung to create a "Wife Mode" since any settings I had should be overruled when she walked it the room.

Oct 01, 2023 09:02 AM
Diana Zaccaro Broker Associate

Jim Paulson 

Here you go...

Motion or light sensors

Oct 01, 2023 08:06 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

Funny, I did the same thing (downloaded DuckDuckGo app for my Chrome), Jim after our meeting. I also loved that meeting and took a lot of good notes. 

I did not receive the message that Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist did either but, appreciate you sharing your friend's explanation. Thanks for continuing the ZOOM conversation, Jim!

Sep 27, 2023 03:19 PM
Jim Paulson

Debe Maxwell, CRS I wonder if the message that Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist saw was in the Terms of Service agreement that I scrolled past.  I figured since were are dealing with cloud computing, if Adam didn't read "Apple's" TOS, why should I? 🤣 What could possibly go wrong . . . 

Oct 01, 2023 09:07 AM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

Duckduckgo is an amazing search engine. But I doubt any search engine is as powerful as Google.  All the best.

Sep 27, 2023 05:57 PM
Jim Paulson

I concur Sam Shueh.  I find myself using different search engines at times and getting quite different results.  The same can be said for searching multiple news medias on the same event to see the same event reported with a completely different twist.

Oct 01, 2023 09:08 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Wow, sounds like I missed a great class, and will have to play with this extension when I return home.

Sep 28, 2023 04:38 AM
Carla Freund
Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Raleigh, NC
NC Real Estate Transition & Relocation 919-602-848

Thank you for sharing!

Sep 28, 2023 05:17 AM
Greg Large
ERA Real Solutions - Grove City, OH
A Tradition of Trust

noticed you said you did not have Facebook open in any tabs, and I was told a long time ago that Facebook will track everything even if it is NOT open, and LOG OUT after any Facebook session, and I think that discontinues the tracking, until you log back in of course 😏 Jim Paulson.

Sep 28, 2023 03:16 PM
Jim Paulson

Greg Large I think it might have to do with cookies stored on your computer.  They might even partner with other companies to buy/share cookies.  Consider how many websites have their default set to stay "logged in". They want to keep collecting data well after you finish your session.

Oct 01, 2023 09:12 AM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate (435) 632-9374 - St. George, UT
St. George Utah Area Residential Sales Agent

Have joined the DDG family as well, Jim. I was tired of Google asking me if I'd like to share my location (uh, no), when looking something up!

Sep 29, 2023 03:11 PM
Jim Paulson

As you probably know, I am a bit of a Geek and love data, so I don't mind sharing mine on Google.  As I age, I may not remember what I have done so Google and Facebook will remind me. I kind of wish I had Google tracking me since birth since it would be an interesting map of all the places I have been.  I post a lot of photos and data on Google Maps as a local guide and have fun seeing what gets the most traction.  I have over 58 million views on Google Maps so far.

Oct 01, 2023 09:27 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Sep 30, 2023 05:49 PM
Jim Paulson

Thanks for the feature Kathy Streib 😀

Oct 01, 2023 09:27 AM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Jim Paulson  I have been grousing about the recording for years.... my corporate meetings are recorded and I can go at my own pace and watch it, Endre

Sep 30, 2023 09:17 PM
Jim Paulson

Endre Barath, Jr. recordings can be great for going at your own pace.  I love being able to speed them up or slow them down or play them in the background as I do other things.  I despise the ones that are set for educational purposes (CE credits) that won't let you pass if you speed up the course and listen/watch in less time than allotted.  What happened to the days you could challenge a class and if you had proficient knowledge, you could pass the class without having to even take the class?  

Oct 01, 2023 09:31 AM
Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
Relocation to NW AZ with elbow room & more freedom

I too am sorry I missed the call as Tuesdays often are filled with appointments as I attempt not to make appointments on Mondays or Fridays.

Oct 01, 2023 05:29 AM
Jim Paulson

Leanne Smith there are few people on the calls that typically do a great job of doing a recap summary.  I think it is time that we reconsider recording them.  The issue is they are hour long meetings and that takes a lot of storage.  I am already at my 200 GB limit and am wondering if I should upgrade to 2TB.  Well, for only $7 a month,  . . . done!

Debe Maxwell, CRS what do you think of asking our Presenters and our Zoom regulars about recording them for a week to view, maybe with a password required.  Then, we could delete the videos so they won't take up too much space?  I would  be willing to record and store the sessions I am on.

Oct 01, 2023 09:41 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

I have added DuckDuckGo to my computer too - thank you - and I am glad that Kathy Streib shared this again - it has been a busy week! 

Oct 01, 2023 06:30 AM
Jim Paulson

Lise Howe I am very please with it so far. I too have been getting busy in Boise.  Hope that sets the state for the 4th quarter of 2023.

Oct 01, 2023 09:42 AM
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Platinum - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Great post!  Thanks for sharing and enjoy your day!

Oct 01, 2023 06:49 AM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Thank you, Jim. I use this search engine and I like knowing I am not being tracked. However, I lead a fairly plain life so the only thing they may want to track me on is exposing all of the big pharma scams out there. 

Oct 01, 2023 06:55 PM
Jim Paulson

Dr. Paula McDonald I was shocked to recently learn that pharmacists are not allowed to write a prescription for greater than a year. I have seen bottles direct from the manufacturer with an expiration date into 2025, yet the pharmacist's prescription magically expires one year from the date it was filled locally.

Nov 25, 2023 08:58 AM
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

I have been using DuckDuckGo for a few years now.  I am very aware of all the SMART objects that monitor and track us and know its nearly impossible to be free of that -- and you are so right about having conversation and then getting all the targeting efforts aimed at you.  @Jim Paulsion thank you for your informative post!

Oct 02, 2023 10:08 AM
Charles Ross - eXp Realty LLC
eXp Realty LLC Salina Group - Salina, KS
Love To Help People

Jim, your discovery of DuckDuckGo's privacy features is a great reminder of the importance of protecting our digital footprint. Keep exploring and sharing these valuable tech insights! 🌐🛡️ #StayMotivated #DigitalPrivacy

Nov 24, 2023 05:54 AM
Jim Paulson
Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) - Boise, ID

Thanks Charles Ross - eXp Realty LLC.  I am always glad to share what I know.  That is why I became an instructor for both the National Association of Realtors and the National Association of Home Builders. (plus that helps subsidize my travel habit)

Nov 25, 2023 09:20 AM