DuckDuckGo Search Engine Gets Boost After PRISM Scandal
Sick of the growing lack of anonymity on the web? Apparently many people are, as ‘anonymous’ search engine DuckDuckGo saw a major boost after the NSA Prism scandal leaked.
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.
"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.
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.
The policy states:
"We also save searches, but again, not in a personally identifiable way, as we do not store IP addresses or unique User agent strings. We use aggregate, non-personal search data to improve things like misspellings...If you turn redirects off in the settings and you don't either turn POST on or use our encrypted site, then your search could leak to sites you click on. Yet as explained above, this does not happen by default."
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.
But that doesn't mean the government can't come after any information that the user has chosen to share by changing their default settings.