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

Nadim Kobeissi nadim at
Mon Jun 24 21:06:13 PDT 2013

On 2013-06-24, 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?

Oh! I see my statement has been applied to a different context than the one I originally intended. I simply meant that I vouch for DuckDuckGo as a great service with good policies. I was not commenting with regards to their server security or logging mechanisms. In fact, how could I? I don't suppose it's easy or even possible to, at whim, audit the datacenter of any big search engine. Such an endeavour would require facilitation from the DuckDuckGo team. Auditing a search engine is not like auditing a git repository.


> 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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