tech news and opinions

Duckduckgo is spying on you O_O

You really can’t trust any search engine these days, except maybe some foreign ones because are either too naive being too new to the internet (hello third world) or they haven’t figured out how to be snoops like everyone else.

As it became evident that all the major search engines – Google, Bing, and Yahoo (no one cares about you Ask.com) – were spying on me, I switched to alternative search engines. I don’t like seeing ads of things I searched for at one time in an unrelated search. The fact that advertisers do that shows how they are so desperate to get their product in front of you that they lose all tact and class in doing so. They are like drooling hound dogs saying “PET ME! PET ME!!!” Dumb mutt.

I was using ixquick i.e. startpage.com for awhile, but I caught wind it likely wasn’t totally private due to its sources of funding but it also had somewhat poor search results. I eventually found duckduckgo and watched it grow into a major search engine. I knew it from the days when its results were worse than startpage.com. I was pleased with the improvements. They even added filters for moderating search results. You usually can get exactly what you’re looking for in search results rather than just what’s popular.

But then things started to change. Gradually, results started to funnel down into the usual suspects, including Youtube and Wikipedia and mainstream liberal media. It’s true that some of that is just popularity, but the free and unique sites started to be drowned out.

However, one thing that I really started to notice recently was that the “organic” (non-ad) search results started showing things I had searched before. Even the supposed geolocation of my computer started to factor into the results. There is no option to turn these things off, by the way. The results couldn’t be blamed on any sites duckduckgo was linked to. No, these were clearly from the site itself.

One guy noted in an article that duckduckgo may have gone “woke” (far left liberal), which wouldn’t be surprising since the original site developers are Silicon Valley-minded individuals. The author noted that duckduckgo was sending data back to duckduckgo servers whenever you hovered over a picture. In your browser, hit F12 and go to the Network tab and then click on a picture in duckduckgo and you’ll see it tries to send data via a POST method to improving.duckduckgo.com. uBlockOrigin will block these attempts and for click-throughs too, but somehow data is still getting back to the duckduckgo server. (My educated guess is that it happens when your browser tries to load larger images (after you select them) or site previews. Then there’s no need for a secret POST request back to the server because your browser already told duckduckgo what you wanted.)

On Slashdot, I discovered a claim that duckduckgo founder Gabriel Weinberg commented that for duckduckgo “All our front-end servers are hosted on Amazon not Verizon“. Amazon has gone too liberal, as evidenced by them kicking Parlor off their servers, and they are more than happy to spy on your privacy for advertising purposes (not to mention converting society into a totalitarian dystopia ruled by snobby elitists who don’t respect the dignity nor privacy of commoners).

There are more arguments of duckduckgo privacy abuses, but whether or not they are founded, you will have to do your own investigating. One alternative is searx, but it’s software for which you will have to find an instance, such as on this list. I have not tried it yet, so I can’t vouch for it, and I don’t really know how easy it will be.

It goes to show that your privacy isn’t safe on the internet anymore. We sacrifice privacy for the sake of convenience. But how much privacy should you be willing to sacrifice? Just realize that, even from the privacy of your own home, putting something on the internet – words, photos, ideas, etc – is like shouting it out loud and sharing it with everyone in a giant auditorium full of people who are all too eager to exploit it for their own gain.

The internet is like a market. People go there to talk, learn, and do business. Expect salesmen, spies, tax collectors, thieves, and all sorts of mischievous people.

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