DuckDuckGo search engine surges 33% in wake of PRISM scandal

“The ‘anonymous’ search engine DuckDuckGo is getting a boost off the PRISM scandal that is putting big tech companies like Google and Apple to shame,” Cadie Thompson reports for CNBC.

“DuckDuckGo, a search engine that claims it gives its users complete anonymity, has seen a 33 percent increase in users since the NSA news broke over a week ago, said founder and CEO Gabriel Weinberg on CNBC’s Closing Bell Tuesday,” Thompson reports. “‘We always knew people didn’t want to be tracked, but what hadn’t happened was reporting on the private alternatives and so it’s no surprise that people are making a choice to switch to things that that will give them great results and also have real privacy,’ Weinberg said.”

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Thompson reports, “Basically, most tech companies store user information—like searches, email account data, searches on social platforms—in data warehouses, so that it can be accessed again. But DuckDuckGo opts to throw any of that information away and not to save it, Weinberg said. Big tech companies — like Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo and Apple — all were subject to thousands of government inquiries about user information. DuckDuckGo, though, didn’t have the government knocking on their door. ‘We had zero inquiries and the reason for that is because we don’t store any data,’ Weinberg said. ‘So if they come to us—which they know because it’s in our privacy policy—we have nothing to hand over, it’s all anonymous data.'”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Yahoo: Since December 2012, we have received up to 13,000 U.S. gov’t requests for customer data – June 18, 2013
Apple: Since December 2012, we have received U.S. gov’t requests for customer data for up to 10,000 accounts – June 17, 2013
Nine companies, including Apple, tied to PRISM, Obama to be smacked with class-action lawsuit – June 12, 2013
U.S. lawmakers urge review of ‘Prism’ domestic spying, Patriot Act – June 10, 2013
PRISM: Do Apple, Google, Facebook have an ethical obligation not to spy on users? – June 8, 2013
Plausible deniability: The strange and unbelievable similarities in the Apple, Google, and Facebook PRISM denials – June 7, 2013
Google’s Larry Page on government eavesdropping: ‘We had not heard of a program called PRISM until yesterday’ – June 7, 2013
Seecrypt app lets iPhone, Android users keep voice calls, text messages away from carriers, government eyes and ears – June 7, 2013
Obama administration defends PRISM data-collection as legal anti-terrorism tool – June 7, 2013
Facebook, Google, Yahoo join Apple in sort-of denying PRISM involvement – June 7, 2013
Report: Intelligence program gives U.S. government direct access to customer data on Apple servers; Apple denies – June 6, 2013


    1. There is a line that shall never be crossed in the USA called the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution. If our government has crossed that line, off to jail go the traitorous criminals.

      READ the 4th Amendment before lying to people that privacy is ‘unobtainable’, idiot. Go kiss fascist butt in some other country, anonymous coward ‘Matt’.

      The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

      And here is what US forefather Benjamin Franklin had to say in the face of fascism appeasers:
      They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

      Is my country full of ignorant people? Or has my country given up and wants to kill itself? Please let me know. 😕

      1. Hi Derek,

        I respect your opinion and always like reading your posts. I am Ivar and always post in my own name, although I am not registered. I think it is unnecessary to call “Matt” a coward for not having registered.

        I am glad you take the fourth seriously, as you should. Most civil countries have similar laws / rules and yet it seems that there is always tension between doing what is right and doing what is right. Someone here often quotes Benjamin Franklin “He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither.” It is hard to stand to your principles if breaking them means catching a terrorist. So do you stick to the principle and grand privacy or do you look the other way once in a while? There are many bright people who do not voice their opinions lightly that still have different views. Some might say that is warrants to find a terrorist and save innocent lives, others might agree that it would be great to save the lives, but not at the price of sacrificing “the 4th”.

        Yours, Ivar (really)

        1. Anonymous coward hit-and-run fraud trolls are a standard here, sadly. I even have my own personal stalker troll who is an anonymous coward, hiding behind whatever fake nick of the day they choose. No doubt that encourages me to be trigger happy. But I was NOT pleased with what ‘Matt’ expressed, not that he’s alone in that BS assertion.

          To answer your question: As soon as we in the USA compromise our innate and guaranteed constitutional rights in pursuit of any criminal of any kind, THE CRIMINAL WON. That includes terrorists.

          Let’s review EXACTLY what is going wrong with this PRISM BS: The secret courts known as FISA handing out unconstitutional BLANKET surveillance warrants of US citizens on US soil. That’s the sum total.

          By all means surveil EVERYONE else, meaning all foreigners, as applied to tracking down criminals, including terrorists. I have no sympathy for cry babies over that activity. It does save lives and we have every right to such surveillance.

          But NO US citizen can EVER be surveilled while in the USA without PROBABLE CAUSE. If any US citizen does not like that, I suggest they leave for a more fascist country.

          Read this page and understand exactly what the 4th Amendment is for and why our forefathers insisted upon including it in the Bill of Rights. Ignorance about this topic is literally death of the USA.

    1. If a website doesn’t COUNT the number of visitors it receives each day, they’re being lazy. Visitor counter code is FREE and PLENTIFUL. Go search for it on DuckDuckGo.

      Example: I receive an average of 150 visitors per day at my Mac-Security blog. My record is 503 visitors in a day. I have zero idea who my visitors are. My blog has no tracking cookies and no ads. It simply has a free handy visitor counter.

    2. I was pointing out at least one way DuckDuckGo is still collecting data on users. Between invasive and harmless data collecting, there’s a million shades of gray – for DuckDuckGo to say they do not collect any data on users is ridiculous. Their server logs must contain way more sensitive info then just hit counters, if government agencies cared enough to collect it from this nascent search engine.

  1. Oh please. Most of the data on Apple’s servers is encrypted on the user end and just stored on Apple’s end.

    Nice try though… lumping Apple in with a company that is notorious for mining user data.

      1. As I recall, the leaked documents about the PRISM program said data was collected from a wide variety of web companies with the vast majority coming from Yahoo, Google and Microsoft. Edward Snowden did make a comment alleging the NSA had secret “direct access” to Apple & Google & Microsoft servers – but that claim was denied by each company, there was never evidence to back up that claim, and it generally doesn’t make sense to people familiar with computer networking (who would be extremely concerned if such a thing was possible and that commonplace). Also, Apple has policies about encrypting and anonymizing data it collects, that would make it impossible for Apple to turn over much of the type of data government spies are likely interested in.

      1. botvinnik: You never have explained exactly where or why you came up with this ‘Obama Messiah’ crap. You do know it’s talking point jibberish from the Neo-Conservatives, don’t you? So are you trying to out yourself as just another dumbass Neo-Conservative drone?

        And yes, poliTards, I am condemning the Neo-Con-Jobs, just as I condemn the DemoCraps. A plague on both your corrupt ‘parties’. I won’t be bothering to read your mindless propaganda rant-backs. So enjoy yourselves.

        1. Would you feel better if I said Dubya Messiah? Or Saint Billy Of Arkansas? My continual and unrelenting point is this: anyone who undermines the Bill Of Rights is the enemy of all free people. You have not yet grasped the lie that both parties and their nominees can be purchased. This is your homework assignment: who has the financial wherewithal to purchase them?

          1. More importantly, good people, such as yourself and most young people, do not comprehend the depth of evil. It seems to be have become the burden of older minds or anyone who understands history. There is no “neo-con” there is no “progressive liberal”, there is only liberty.

            1. Evil or greedy? Bad or self-serving? Isn’t placing a moral label on these people just putting you (or whoever is labeling) in the other subjective moral camp? To identify who is Evil, mustn’t one also know who or what it is to be Good? Or isn’t that, at least, the implicit assumption? And don’t these labels, ultimately, serve only to create enough distance between one and the other so as to justify persecution, whether physical or verbal?

    1. Here. Here. I’ve been wanting that for a long time. It’s as if we don’t have a choice, but to use one of the three in so many apps, or to be very inconvenienced by having to leave said app and go to DDG another way. I would never again use Google if this were an option. NEVER! Apple, please buy DDG STAT! What an opportunity this media coverage represents for developers. Could you imagine what would happen if the consumer had a choice between equivalent apps and devices; some that tracked and some that never tracked? Wow!

  2. DDG may not keep any personal data, but that doesn’t mean NSA isn’t collecting these data, sifting through these data, and making lists. The former members of Stasi weep for not having the technology NSA has.

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