Privacy, Bing and DuckDuckGo


This week it came to light that DuckDuckGo’s browser is intentionally allowing trackers for Microsoft domains because of a confidential agreement. I previously mentioned that I quit Google in 2013 and in that post, I said I started using DuckDuckGo also that same year. I have also used DuckDuckGo as my website search engine, coincidentally I discovered that Bing recently dropped my website. I suspect I am either too irrelevant or that my Full Pint posts have somehow disqualified me. For now, I am using StartPage for my website search. Now, I made this last move out of necessity, not because of DuckDuckGo betraying its users’ trust.

While I have never really loudly touted my website as being about privacy, if you have been paying attention, I care about it a great deal. I will pay for privacy because if something is free, you are probably paying for it with your data. In other words, you are the product. DuckDuckGo has become my primary search engine over the last 9 years and I will probably for now keep using it, the issue is with their browser, not their search engine. However, as DuckDuckGo has famously said, “the simple fact is tracking is tracking, no matter what you call it”. I think the very nature of the agreement DuckDuckGo has with Bing and the pressure to make money makes DuckDuckGo seem very much like a young Google, who used to say, “Don’t be evil”, until they did just that. Honestly, it bothers me some also that DuckDuckGo results are at the mercy of Microsoft and Bing.

I have routinely shared privacy-based search engines in my Full Pint series, but honestly, there is not a lot out there that appears to be that promising. I will likely use StartPage a little more often now and Kagi looks very interesting. I would pay for guaranteed privacy. I applied for their beta and I will see what their results look like, as well as their terms of service. For now, this is just a reminder to always keep your eyes and ears open to the services you choose. Hopefully, this might be a wake-up call for DuckDuckGo to work harder on their transparency.