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[liberationtech] DuckDuckGo vs Startpage [was: Help test Tor Browser]

Daniel Sieradski ds at
Mon Jun 24 18:16:00 PDT 2013

Has there ever been any effort to create an open source search engine that is entirely transparent in both its software and practices? ( doesn't count!)

Daniel Sieradski
ds at

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On Jun 24, 2013, at 8:20 PM, Mike Perry <mikeperry at> wrote:

> Nadim Kobeissi:
>> I'd just like to add that I'm a DuckDuckGo user myself and that I can
>> definitely vouch for the service.
> I've had a number of people tell me that they vouch for DuckDuckGo. What
> does this even mean? Nobody seems to be capable of rationally explaining
> it.
> Have you inspected their datacenter/server security? Have you audited
> their logging mechanisms?
> Does DuckDuckGo even have an https channel to Bing on the back end?
> Note that I don't vouch for StartPage. I merely think that StartPage
> provides superior search results to DDG.
> In fact, I wish both companies the best of luck business-wise, and I'm
> happy to have both of them at the two top positions in TBB's omnibox.
> This is because right now, there are only two ways to get https web
> search results over Tor. Microsoft allows Tor, but has officially
> refused to support https directly for Bing. Google regularly bans Tor
> nodes entirely, often without the possibility of even entering a Captcha
> or using a valid Gmail account (both of which are non-starters for a
> default engine of course, but would be better than status quo).
> Every time Tor tries to start a conversation with either Google or
> Microsoft on these two topics, they both give us a litany of excuses as
> to why fixing the situation is a "hard problem", even after we present
> potential cost-effective engineering solutions to both problems.
> For this reason, the loss of either DDG or Startpage would scare the
> shit out of me, but right now, neither one has done enough for Tor to
> warrant the default search position**, and since StartPage tends to
> index more of the deep web faster, it is my opinion we should stick with
> them as the top position, and have DDG in second.
> ** Sure, DuckDuckGo runs a hidden service, and also one of the slowest
> Tor relays on the network (rate limited to 50KB/sec or less), but it is
> quite debatable as to if either of these things are actually helpful to
> Tor. In fact, such a slow Tor relay probably harms Tor performance more
> than helps (in the rare event that you actually happen to select it).
> -- 
> Mike Perry
> --
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