Startpage launches proxy service for anonymous web browsing

Seeing that it is Data Privacy Day, Startpage announced the launch of a new proxy service allowing users to browse the web anonymously. Visitors must first enter a query in the Startpage search engine and select the "proxy" option under a result. The website is then displayed in a privacy-protected Startpage window. Users' IP addresses are protected from third-party sites and cookies cannot be installed, since the user is not interacting directly with the site.

Startpage's privacy policy states the company does not track users' search queries, IP addresses, or usage information. Robert Beens, CEO of Startpage, had this to say:

"People are more concerned about online data retention policies than ever before. We wanted to offer them a useful tool and this proxy is a logical extension of our services. A search engine is a starting point for people to visit other pages. Now our users can take the privacy they get with Startpage to the next step, and go privately to the sites they have found as well. This proxy completes the total search privacy picture."

The announcement comes after critics vocalized frustration at Google's recent anti-privacy comments, as detailed in this post. Although the idea of browsing the web anonymously is a welcome thought for many users, the downside is pages load slower using the proxy service.

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