There are substantial privacy and civil liberty issues with DuckDuckGo. Here they are spot-lighted:
Nefarious History of DDG founder & CEO:
DDG’s founder (Gabriel Weinberg) has a history of privacy abuse, starting with his founding of Names DB, a surveillance capitalist service designed to coerce naive users to submit sensitive information about their friends. (2006)
Weinberg’s motivation for creating DDG was not actually to “spread privacy”; it was to create something big, something that would compete with big players. As a privacy abuser during the conception of DDG (Names Database), Weinberg sought to become a big-name legacy. Privacy is Weinberg’s means (not ends) in that endeavor. Clearly he doesn’t value privacy – he values perception of privacy.
Direct Privacy Abuse:
DDG’s app sends every URL you visit to DDG servers. (reaction).
DDG is accused of fingerprinting users’ browsers.
When clicking an ad on the DDG results page, all data available in your session is sent to the advertiser, which is why the Epic browser project refuses to set DDG as the default browser.
DDG blacklisted Framabee, a search engine for the highly respected framasoft.org consortium.
Some people replace Google with DDG in order to avoid censorship. DDG is not the answer.
DDG is complying with the “celebrity threesome injunction”.
CloudFlare: DDG promotes one of the largest privacy abusing tech giants and adversary to the Tor community: CloudFlare Inc. DDG results give high rankings to CloudFlare sites, which consequently compromises privacy, net neutrality, and anonymity:
Anonymity: CloudFlare DoS attacks Tor users, causing substantial damage to the Tor network.
Privacy: All CloudFlare sites are surreptitiously MitM’d by design.
Net neutrality: CloudFlare’s attack on Tor users causes access inequality, the centerpiece to net neutrality.
DDG T-shirts are sold using a CloudFlare site, thus surreptitiously sharing all order information (name, address, credit card, etc) with CloudFlare despite their statement at the bottom of the page saying “DuckDuckGo is an Internet privacy company that empowers you to seamlessly take control of your personal information online, without any tradeoffs.” (2019)
DDG hired CloudFlare to host spreadprivacy.com (2019)
Harmful Partnerships with Adversaries of Privacy Seekers:
DDG patronizes privacy-abuser Amazon, using AWS for hosting.
Amazon is making an astronomical investment in facial recognition which will destroy physical travel privacy
Amazon uses Ring and Alexa to surveil neighborhoods and the inside of homes.
Amazon paid $195k to fight privacy in CA. (also see http://cal-access.sos.ca.gov/Campaign/Committees/Detail.aspx?id=1401518&view=late1)
Amazon runs sweat shops, invests in climate denial, etc… the list of non-privacy related harms is too long to list here.
DDG feeds privacy-abuser Microsoft by patronizing the Bing API for search results and uses Outlook email service.
Microsoft Office products violate the GDPR (the Dutch government discovered numerous violations)
Microsoft finances AnyVision to equip the Israeli military with facial recognition to be used against the Palestinians who they oppress.
Microsoft paid $195k to fight privacy in CA. (also see http://cal-access.sos.ca.gov/Campaign/Committees/Detail.aspx?id=1401518&view=late1)
DDG hires Microsoft for email service: torsocks dig @188.8.131.52 mx duckduckgo.com +tcp | grep -E ‘^\w’ ==> “…duckduckgo-com.mail.protection.outlook.com”
DDG is partnered with Yahoo (aka Oath; plus Verizon and AOL by extension). DDG helps Yahoo profit by patronizing Yahoo’s API for search results, and also through advertising. The Verizon corporate conglomerate is evil in many ways:
Yahoo, Verizon, and AOL all supported CISPA (unwarranted surveillance bills)
Yahoo, Verizon, and AOL all use DNSBLs to block individuals from running their own mail servers, thus forcing an over-share of e-mail metadata with a relay.
Verizon and AOL both drug test their employees, thus intruding on their privacy outside of the workplace.
Verizon supports the TTP treaty.
Yahoo voluntarily ratted out a human rights journalist (Shi Tao) to the Chinese gov w/out warrant, leading to his incarceration.
Verizon received $16.8 billion in Trump tax breaks, then immediately laid off thousands of workers.
(2014) Verizon fined $7.4 million for violating customers’ privacy
(2016) Verizon fined $1.35 million for violating customers’ privacy
(2018) Verizon paid $200k to fight privacy in CA. See also this page
(2018) Verizon caught taking voice prints?
more dirt (scroll down to Verizon)
(2016) Yahoo caught surreptitiously monitoring Yahoo Mail messages for the NSA.
Advertising Abuses & Corruption:
DDG consumed a room at FOSDEM 2018 to deliver a sales pitch despite its proprietary non-free server code, then dashed out without taking questions. Shame on FOSDEM organizers for allowing this corrupt abuse of precious resources.
Tor Project accepted a $25k “contribution” (read: bribe) from DDG, so you’ll find that DDG problems are down-played. This is why Tor Browser defaults to using DDG and why Tor Project endorses DDG over searxes.eu.org – and against the interests of the privacy-seeking Tor community. The EFF also pimps DDG – a likely consequence of EFF’s close ties to Tor Project.