Let's say I want to find information about some dictator and want people to answer questions about him. I want to be undetected + insure the same for the people in such a survey.

What are the differences if I open "Incognito mode" in Chrome and search via "https://startpage.com" and if I conduct the survey via Tor?


2 Answers 2


The igcognito mode of Chrome prevents the Chrome browser to remember what you were browsing/downloading while using the Chrome browser. It never protects your anonymity from the websites you visit. The websites can still see your public IP address. For eg: If you visit startpage.com via igcognito mode of Chrome, the startpage.com will still see your public IP!

See the following statement from Google's official page:

Be careful, because the websites you visit, your employer, or your service provider can still see your browsing activity, even in incognito mode.

As the igcognito mode will not remember your browsing history so any other user using the browser will not be able to see your browsing history. This is the actual benefit of igcognito mode of Chrome.

On the other hand Tor tries to protect your anonymity from the websites that you will be visiting. Because you will be routed through a Tor network and then you will be connected to your desired website. So at the end the website will not see your public IP address. The connection between you and the website will be somehow like below:

You ------->  Tor Network --------> Desired website

I would recommend you to visit the FAQ of Tor for more information. I hope now the difference is clear to you. I would recommend using Tor for your survey stuff!

Can my ISP see what websites I am visiting via Tor?

The answer is No and yes. It depends upon how you use the Tor. Please refer to this question for the details.

  • does my provide know the site I visit via Tor?
    – Ilan
    Jun 19, 2015 at 11:54
  • @Ilan Answer updated
    – ρss
    Jun 19, 2015 at 12:33

A user agent identifies your browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc.) and provides certain system details to the websites you visit. Your web browser automatically sends this information to every webpage you visit. The user agent data helps websites tailor their pages and content to your browser and platform.

StartPage does not store your user agent data. That is very important, because user agent data can be used to "fingerprint" your browser and identify you. We never collect or store add-on details either, as they are specific enough to make browser fingerprinting possible. The only information we log is total search numbers conducted per language, as an aggregate figure. To learn how browser fingerprinting threatens privacy, please read EFF's useful Panopticlick overview:http://panopticlick.eff.org

StartPage uses your user agent as follows: To customize the "Add to... " message on our home page. StartPage uses the user agent string to customize the home page(www.startpage.com) where it provides instructions to add StartPage to your browser. (That's under the search box where it says "Add to Internet Explorer," "Add to Firefox," "Add to Safari," etc.) Those directions differ from browser to browser, so we tailor the instructions you see.

User agent data helps us prevent our service from being "scraped" by automatic programs or bots. One way we can identify bots is that they often do not send user-agents, while a normal user of our service would. This is why we do not allow access to StartPage by visitors who do not transmit a user agent.

A number of browsers also offer add-ons so that you can "fake" your user agent data thereby enhancing your privacy and overcoming the perceived scraping obstacle.

A final word about fingerprinting techniques: StartPage does not attempt to "fingerprint" and track visitors, under any circumstances. StartPage opposes the use of so-called "canvas fingerprinting" and evercookies, and does not use these or any other techniques to gather and retain data about you, your computing environment, or your browsing habits. If you are concerned about the use of canvas fingerprinting or evercookies, our Proxy can protect you from both when browsing web sites.

The biggest thing not mentioned here is that "startpage" hides your activity of searches from your ISP , Tor does not ! Also , Startpage does not store your search history because in the Netherlands , the laws do not require them to. Also "Startpage" uses "Google search engine" then delivers the results to you and all Google knows is they received a search from "startpage" and not your IP address.

Watch this video to fully understand https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6vmyv44tG8

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