I use DuckDuckGo too.
Anyone who's interested in changing their default search provider, i.e. when you type searches directly into the URL address bar, you can do this:
- Type about:config in the URL address bar
- Click through all the warnings, like "Here be dragons!"
- A long list of parameters comes up with a search bar on top. Type keyword.URL into the search bar.
- On the value column of the keyword.URL row type or paste https://duckduckgo.com/?q=
- Click on Ok... done!
Now, whenever you type keyword searches on the URL address bar, it'll send the query to DuckDuckGo instead of Google.
"Privacy protectors" like Ghostery and Abine only do things like delete cookies after sessions and ask search engines to "play nice". They don't really enforce much privacy and are close to ineffective since search giants like Google have 50+ different ways of identifying your computer and therefore keeping track of your browsing histories across multiple sites.
You can block LSOs by doing the following:
- Load any page with a Flash object embedded in it and right clicking it to get the Flash context menu.
- Select Global settings... > Storage
- You'll get three options for (dis)allowing sites to store LSOs on your computer
LSOs are mostly useless but if you want to save settings on your favourite video or media sites such as volume, bandwidth, etc., they might be convenient and you can allow them on a site by site basis. On the other hand, they're very effective for storing information about you and tracking you. Google uses them extensively. If you want to see how much sites use them, install the Flash debug player (for developers: https://www.adobe.com/support/flashplayer/downloads.html) and block all LSOs; You'll get a lot of runtime error messages through the debugger such as SharedObject.flush() failed.
The TORProject is a full-on heavy duty identity cloaking service that effectively anonymises you to everyone, even government agencies, and uses strong 256 bit encryption (AES) on everything sent and received. It's popular among political activitists, investigative journalists, and people who live under oppressive regimes. If you use it with any other plugins, e.g. Flash Player, Java, Quicktime, or Google+'s plugins, they bypass your privacy and expose you to surveillance.
Obviously, it's in all the major web corporations' interest for you not to conceal your identity since that's how they make most of their money. That's why it's so difficult to do and there's not much clear, accurate, honest publicity about it.