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Government Privacy Your Rights Online

DuckDuckGo: Illusion of Privacy 264

Posted by timothy
from the if-it-barks-like-a-duck dept.
An anonymous reader writes "With all of the news stories about users moving to DuckDuckGo because of NSA spying, this article discusses why the privacy provided by DuckDuckGo is more the privacy from third-party tracking (advertisers) but may do little, if anything, to prevent the NSA from tracking your searches."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

DuckDuckGo: Illusion of Privacy

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  • VPN (Score:5, Informative)

    by xtal (49134) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @09:04PM (#44272749)

    Run your traffic encrypted through another country with actual privacy protections.

    It's not perfect, but it is another complication and barrier to direct monitoring.

    Ultimately, the NSA reveal is a good thing - it's going to drive demand for virtual private cloud services where you hold the keys, and perhaps, a move back to corporate controlled cloud services on-site. Great news if you're in IT.

  • Ixquick? (Score:5, Informative)

    by rycamor (194164) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @09:05PM (#44272755)

    At least Ixquick is not a U.S. company: https://ixquick.com/eng/prism-program-revealed.html [ixquick.com]

    While their searches aren't as fast as Google's, I have found them to be pretty good quality-wise.

  • by tepples (727027) <tepples.gmail@com> on Saturday July 13, 2013 @09:22PM (#44272843) Homepage Journal
    DDG is a reskinned Yandex with shortcuts to search particular sites [duckduckgo.com]. If you don't commonly use site: searches on Google, and you can't stand Yandex, you won't like DDG.
  • DuckDuckGo Response (Score:5, Informative)

    by yegg (1908960) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @09:22PM (#44272845)
    Hi, this is Gabriel Weinberg, CEO and founder of DuckDuckGo. I do not believe we can be compelled to store or siphon off user data to the NSA or anyone else. All the existing US laws are about turning over existing business records and not about compelling you change your business practices. In our case such an order would further force us to lie to consumers, which would put us in trouble with the FTC and irreparably hurt our business. We have not received any request like this, and do not expect to. We have spoken with many lawyers particularly skilled and experienced in this part of US and international law. If we were to receive such a request we believe as do these others it would be highly unconstitutional on many independent grounds, and there is plenty of legal precedent there. With CALEA in particular, search engines are exempt. There are many additional legal and technical inaccuracies in this article and I will not address all of them in this comment. All our front-end servers are hosted on Amazon not Verizon, for example. A couple other responses to things I've noticed in the comments already: --Our servers are already located around the world. European users are generally not hitting US-based servers, for example. --We do have PFS on our cert: https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/analyze.html?d=duckduckgo.com&s=50.18.192.251 [ssllabs.com]
  • by PureRain (231574) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @10:04PM (#44273025)

    I feel compelled to let anyone here who has not RTFA to not bother. It is a poorly written blog entry that's nothing but hyperbole and speculation. It's also badly researched and contains a lot of inaccuracies. One of the commenters is the CEO of DDG and he corrects some of the misinformation.

    I've been using DDG for 2 years and it is great. Not always as good as Google but a good alternative for most searches. Make sure you set it to your region (settings).

  • by Caetel (1057316) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @11:11PM (#44273317)
    DDG shows no results. Bing's only result is this post. Google has this post and and OpenQNX forum post... so, Google, I guess?
  • Re:DuckDuckGo sucks (Score:5, Informative)

    by Clsid (564627) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @12:25AM (#44273981)

    I don't know but if you do not want to use Google, DuckDuckGo is by far one of the best alternatives. Try doing temperature, currency conversions with DuckDuckGo, the integrated results from WolframAlpha are pretty good. The only thing is missing is image search imho.

  • Re:DuckDuckGo sucks (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 14, 2013 @01:22AM (#44274417)

    The only thing is missing is image search imho.

    Use ixquick.

    Actually, use ixquick (or its sister site startpage) for all the other stuff, too.

  • by heypete (60671) <pete@heypete.com> on Sunday July 14, 2013 @04:00AM (#44275195) Homepage

    It's so their system will strip out referrals, thus increasing your privacy: the site you end up on won't know what search terms you used to get there.

  • Re:FTFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by rainmouse (1784278) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @04:25AM (#44275303)
    For those that don't want to actually read the loose blog post (its just an opinion from some unknown guy and backed up with no actual facts by the way. It's not actually news at all).
    In the comments is a reply apparently from DuckDuckGo :

    "Hi, this is Gabriel Weinberg, CEO and founder of DuckDuckGo. I do not believe we can be compelled to store or siphon off user data to the NSA or anyone else. All the existing US laws are about turning over existing business records and not about compelling you change your business practices. In our case such an order would further force us to lie to consumers, which would put us in trouble with the FTC and irreparably hurt our business. We have not received any request like this, and do not expect to. We have spoken with many lawyers particularly skilled and experienced in this part of US and international law. If we were to receive such a request we believe as do these others it would be highly unconstitutional on many independent grounds, and there is plenty of legal precedent there. With CALEA in particular, search engines are exempt. There are many additional legal and technical inaccuracies in this article and I will not address all of them in this comment. All our front-end servers are hosted on Amazon not Verizon, for example."

  • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @04:29AM (#44275323)

    I'm afraid I went over the top here. You may mean well for your customers, and may in fact resist unconstitutional data requests. But there is a compelling amount of legislation that is aimed _precisely_ at controlling corporate data gathering, ranging from the tax code to the SEC's regulations about business finance to the HIPAA regulations about medical information, the TeleCommunications Privacy Act and its poorly writt4en regulations bout consumer protection, and the export encryption regulations of the department of commerce. Those are not merely about what you must turn over from current records, they are about what you must keep or what you must not publish.

    CALEA is aimed at voice communications, and is not particularly relevant to this except that it was aimed squarely at controlling and preventing changes to business practices. Exemption or not for search engines, it prevented the use of new telecomm technologies that would prohibit easy wiretapping.

Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it. -- Perlis's Programming Proverb #58, SIGPLAN Notices, Sept. 1982

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