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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

After NSA story, users flock to privacy-protecting search engine DuckDuckGo

Man in DuckDuckGo tshirt stands next to Google sign
The Next Web: Just over a week after passing a record 2 million searches in a single day, DuckDuckGo has announced a new milestone: the company processed 3,095,907 searches [on Monday] . DuckDuckGo made it clear that this stat does not include yesterday’s 18.9 million searches via its API and approximately half a million bot searches.

It’s no coincidence that DuckDuckGo’s stats are climbing as the PRISM and larger NSA surveillance controversy grows. The startup has received considerable attention as a Google alternative — remember, Google was cited as a main data source for PRISM. After facing severe criticism for its involvement, Google appealed to the US government in hopes of sharing more about the data requests it receives.
Asked if the PRISM program could be used to monitor users of DDG, CEO and founder Gabriel Weinberg answered, “…if the NSA were to come to us and ask for all our data, it would not be useful to them because our data is truly anonymous (as opposed to pseudo-anonymous, which is never really anonymous).”

Once again, we see the “the public appreciates and understands the NSA’s efforts” line fall apart. Polls show we’re against it and evidence like this shows that a lot of people are willing to actually do something about it. Besides, when the data collection is so easily thwarted, how can it actually be useful? You might not have noticed, but criminals are kind of secretive, so you’d expect them to have been doing this sort of stuff all along.

[photo by JoakimLagerqvist]

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