I sometimes discover new search engines in our Koko Analytics referral data (learn about Koko Analytics here). Today, I discovered Lukol. It claims to be an “anonymous search engine” that is “powered by Google custom search.” That seemed odd, but I decided to check the privacy policy to see how it is anonymous. It begins by claiming that it does not collect “personally identifiable information” – but then:

(Archived privacy policy page from April 23, 2022.)

So this anonymous search engine stores cookies on your computer to serve you with personalized “content and ads” and it shares information about your use of the site with “advertising and analytics partners.” It then directs you to Google’s privacy policy page for information about how to opt out of Google cookies. While I struggle to see how Lukol is privacy-friendly (much less anonymous), it is a great example for why it is important to look behind catchy promises about privacy and anonymity.