/tech/ FAQs - DuckDuckGo

<< I've heard that I shouldn't use DuckDuckGo. Why is that?

We recommend that you don't use DuckDuckGo if you seek a search engine that values your privacy. There's no confirmed proof that DuckDuckGo is violating your privacy, but there are some very suspicious things, however, that make certain other search engines far superior in that regard.
  1. Gabriel Weinberg, the founder of DuckDuckGo, used to run the Names Database.[1] This was a website that aimed to connect people who had lost contact by gathering lots and lots of e-mail addresses. Getting access could be done by either paying money, or submitting lots of e-mail addresses of other people. Since the service revolved around gathering personal information, it is very suspicious for Gabriel Weinberg to start a business that is privacy-oriented. [2]

  2. DuckDuckGo used to set a tracking cookie, even though they claimed they didn't. This was done by a third party they cooperate with, which means that it wasn't necessarily intentional, but if it's unintentional, it shows a worrying lack of care.[3]

  3. DuckDuckGo is based in the US. This makes it really easy for the NSA to compromise it. If it were based in the EU, for example, the NSA wouldn't have the legal power to force them to log everything without telling anyone. This wouldn't guarantee privacy, but it would make it a lot more plausible. Instead, they're based in the US, which means that the NSA can do whatever they want with them. There are secure search engines that are not based in the US.[3]

Recommended Alternatives

None of this proves that DuckDuckGo is harmful for your privacy, but it is enough reason for strong suspicion. Luckily, there are search engines with a better track record. These are some suggestions.

[1] https://archive.is/9wR4O (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_Database)
[2] https://archive.is/N2qe8 (http://www.eyerys.com/articles/people/search-engine-and-privacy-gabriel-weinberg)
[3] https://archive.is/qntuk (http://www.alexanderhanff.com/duckduckgone - Dead link)