We protect your privacy

Forests need protecting and so does your privacy. We make sure to do both.

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    We don’t store your searches permanently

    We don’t create personal profiles of you based on your search history. We actually anonymize all searches within one week.

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    We don’t sell your data to advertisers

    Many web services collect user data in order to sell it without asking your permission. We don’t sell your data or your searches to advertising companies.

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    Your searches are encrypted

    We protect your searches from potential eavesdroppers with a securely encrypted connection. This way we make sure that nobody between you and us can see your searches.

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    We don’t use external tracking tools

    Most websites use external tracking tools, like Google Analytics, to optimize their services. We don’t use such third party trackers, in order to prevent others from accessing your searches.

  • You can turn off all our tracking

    We only collect a small amount of data to be able to improve our services. If you want to opt out of tracking, you can activate “Do Not Track” in your browser’s settings.

Have more questions?

See the answers to the most common questions people have about their privacy

How does Ecosia protect my privacy?

We only collect the data we absolutely need and do so with a self-hosted, secure and encrypted in-house analytics system.

We do not, and never will, share or sell any data we collect ourselves with any third party. Also, no third party that is not directly involved in answering your search request will ever have access to your search data.

For all data we collect ourselves, we take data protection very seriously and take many steps to ensure it is safe and anonymous. For example:

  • We remove parts of the IP address when we store it so they become anonymous. For example 192.168.152.223 becomes 192.168.XXX.XXX
  • We do not use unique event fingerprinting
  • We send all data collected from Ecosia services over an SSL-secured connection
  • We store all analytics data in an highly encrypted database
  • We only keep fully anonymised search data after 7 days

If you have "Do Not Track" enabled in your browser settings we do not collect any analytics data. Most other websites ignore this setting - we think users should have a choice.

We only allow connections to our search engine over a secured SSL/HTTPS connection. This way no one between you and Ecosia can secretly listen in on your searches. We use Digicert, one of the largest and most trusted SSL certificate authorities, to generate and manage our SSL certificates.

Ecosia’s servers are located around the world in order to provide a fast response no matter where you are. However, when you perform a search on Ecosia, your request will generally be routed to the server that is geographically nearest to you. That means, for example, if you are located in Germany your search traffic will remain within Germany and will fall under strict German privacy regulations.

Why are you collecting data at all?

At Ecosia, we want to make sure our users have the best search experience possible. We collect data and do statistical analysis to understand user behavior and trends, how people use our services, and to monitor, troubleshoot, and improve Ecosia. We might, for example, use it to decide which new feature to build next.

For this we use a self-hosted, secure and encrypted in-house analytics system. This allows us to gather data about how our users interact with Ecosia products in a secure and anonymized way.

We also save the searches we receive to filter spam. Unfortunately there is a lot of spam search requests and this allows us to block them. If we would not block spam it would cost us money and resources to answer these search requests, meaning that we would plant less trees.

After 7 days we remove all personal information (like the IP address) from the search data. This way we make 100% sure that we have no way of knowing who searched for what and also no way of connecting different searches to each other or creating any kind of profiles.

Additionally, we collect anonymous data to help identify and fix bugs and issues in Ecosia products and services. This data for example includes log data collected by our servers or data related to program crashes and exceptions.

What about cookies?

A cookie is a small text file that the website you visit sends to your computer. Ecosia uses cookies to store your settings, so we know in which language to show you this page for example.

Information stored in our cookies include:

  • Your country and language settings
  • Whether or not you have installed an extension
  • The value of your search counter
  • Your adult filter settings
  • The timestamp of your last search
  • Your Bing Client ID (if enabled)
  • If you have interacted with certain features before, to for example show you that you have unread notifications
  • In some cases which way you have found out about Ecosia
  • In some cases an identifier for our own anonymous usage data, for example to know how many users we have
  • To determine which version of the page to show you if we are running a test with two different version (A/B test)

We do not store any personal information in the cookie.

Can anyone see my searches?

After 7 days we remove all personal information (like the IP address) from the search data we collect ourselves. So we don't know what you have searched for.

We will never share your searches with anyone except services that are directly involved in answering your search request, like Bing. To make sure, we don't use any third party tools on the Ecosia Search pages. We also actively prevent "Search Leakage", so none of the sites you visit by clicking on a search result on Ecosia know what you searched for.

Ecosia does provide options for performing searches on various third party websites via the “More” dropdown, the “Maps” tab, and the Ecosia Search Tag feature. Please be aware that we can’t influence what third party websites track about you once you have followed a link.

Will any data ever be shared with 3rd parties?

We will never share your searches with anyone except services that are directly involved in answering your search request, like Bing. To make sure, we don't use any third party tools on the Ecosia Search pages.

Ecosia does use third party tools on non-search pages where absolutely necessary to help us understand and tune our marketing campaigns. For example, we may run an ad campaign on a social media site that requires us to share some data about user activity in order to help us understand how effective that campaign is. This helps us to prevent spending money on unsuccessful advertising campaigns that could instead be used to plant trees.

If you wish to revoke consent of these third party tools to collect your data please use the following links.

What data do you share with search results providers like Bing?

We do work with third parties to answer your search requests. To some of our partners we don’t send your search query or any other information, like the IP address. For example, for our weather results we only send the location we are requesting weather information for. To other partners we have to forward more details in order to answer your search request.

For example, when you do a search on Ecosia we forward the following information to our partner, Bing: IP address (obfuscated), user agent string, search term, and some settings like your country and language setting. We never communicate IP addresses along with search queries. We only send IP addresses to Microsoft in obfuscated form, meaning we remove parts of the IP address when we sent it.

If you choose to enable “personalised search”, Ecosia sets a Bing-specific “Client ID” parameter to improve the quality of your search results. You can also choose to enable this feature by modifying your user settings.

How can you protect my privacy, if you show ads?

Like other search engines, we do display search ads next to the search results. When users click on these ads we earn income, which we use for tree planting. We can display these advertisements while still being privacy friendly.

We work with ad networks, like Bing Ads, to show ads based on your search query. When you do a search and ads are displayed next to the search results no data is collected or shared with the advertiser.

How does your privacy policy compare to other search engines?

Ecosia is a “privacy friendly” search engine. We take user privacy very seriously.

By using Ecosia (instead of for example Google) you drastically reduce the amount of data that is collected about you. At Ecosia, we don’t create personal profiles of you, but anonymize all searches after 7 days. Google has lots of other services (Android, Chrome, Gmail, YouTube, Google Analytics being used on other websites etc.), which means they can combine data from a lot of sources and create a detailed profile of you to show you personalized search results and advertisements.

There are only a few search engines with their own web index - for example Google, Bing, Yandex and Baidu. Most other general web search engines cooperate and share data with these companies in some form. We currently work with Bing and are very transparent about what we share with them.

Beyond that, no search engine can ever provide perfect protection of your search data, because other parties – like your network provider or browser for example – might still be able to access some of your data. If you think somebody might be after you, we would recommend checking out security tools like VPNs and services like TOR.

Want to dive into the fine print?

See the in-depth legal version of our privacy policy, with detailed information on how we handle your data.

The protection of your privacy is extremely important to us. This data protection declaration provides information on how and for what purpose we process personal data and explains the rights to which you are entitled. We are aware of how important personal data is to our users and we uphold all German and European data protection provisions.

Ecosia is committed to protecting your privacy and personal data. In order to provide essential services like language settings and spam protection (see below), we collect your IP address for no more than seven days before deleting it. We never sell or purchase personal data, create a personal profile of you or store your personal search history.

We use elements of Microsoft Bing’s search index to deliver results. We never communicate IP addresses along with search queries. We only send IP addresses to Microsoft in obfuscated form, meaning we remove parts of the IP address when we store it. For example 192.168.152.223 becomes 192.168.XXX.XXX. These obfuscated addresses cannot be linked either to you or your searches, and are deleted from Microsoft’s system after 90 days. Microsoft uses the IP address for spam protection. For more information, please refer to their Privacy Statement.

Personalized search is optional, and you can change your preference via our settings menu any time. If you use personalized search results, you get a unique identifier assigned from Microsoft Bing, which can tailor your search results based on your previous search history. This data gets deleted after 18 months. For further details, please refer to Microsoft’s Privacy Policy.

We may use Yahoo´s services in some regions to deliver search results to you. When you search with Ecosia, Yahoo and their partners receive your IP address along with your search query, and delete both after no more than 90 days. For further information, please refer to Yahoo’s Privacy Policy.

To keep out eavesdroppers, we only allow secure HTTPS connections to Ecosia and don’t use external tracking tools (see below).

Maintaining and improving Ecosia services

Analytics

We do not use Google Analytics nor any other external tracking tool. Instead, we use a self-hosted, safe and fully encrypted web analysis tool that doesn’t track any personal data. You can also opt-out of any tracking by selecting “do not track” in your browser settings.

Since we do not store any personal data, we also do not (and cannot) sell your data to other parties. Nor do we buy personal data from others.

Spam Protection

Spam attacks are expensive and can divert significant funds from our tree planting efforts. Therefore, we run our own spam protection intelligence, but also seek help from the spam protection specialist Cloudflare. Internally, we keep IP addresses for a maximum of 7 days before they are either anonymized or deleted. Cloudflare receives anonymized and obfuscated IP addresses, most of which are deleted within days. Only a small sample of anonymized metadata remains with Cloudflare for up to 12 months. This sample is retained in order to diagnose malicious activity and improve the effectiveness of security measures. For further information please refer to Cloudflare’s privacy policy.

Mobile apps

To improve our browser apps, we collect usage statistics such as the name of the device, its manufacturer, model, operating system number and app number or SDK version.

We use a 3rd party service called “App Center” to collect and analyze crash reports of our Android app. This includes data that helps us fix bugs, such as app number, device model, and operating system.

For more information on how “App Center” handles your data, see Microsoft’s Privacy Statement.

Spreading the word

To plant more trees, we use external ad platforms to reach new users. On first installing the Ecosia extension new desktop users see a page that pings back that you have installed Ecosia to our advertising partners. To protect the privacy of your queries this page is not connected to our search service. This page allows us to know which ads helped us plant trees, and we can stop spending money on those that don’t. We regularly test new platforms and remove those whose services are not effective. Currently we are using, or planning to test, Google Ads, Apple’s App Store, Facebook, Twitch and TikTok.

We never share your search data with ad services. You can see how much we spend on spreading the word in our monthly financial reports.

Your rights

You have the following rights with respect to your personal data:

  • Right to information
  • Right to correction or deletion
  • Right to restriction of processing
  • Right to refuse processing
  • Right to data transferability
  • In addition, you have the right to complain to a data protection supervisory authority regarding our processing of your personal data.

Contact

In relation to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the organisation responsible is:

Ecosia GmbH, Gerichtstraße 23 13347 Berlin Germany

Our Data Protection Officer can be contacted at privacy@ecosia.org or our postal address with the addition of "data protection".

Data protection declaration version date: 08/11/2021