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[liberationtech] DuckDuckGo and PRISM

carlo von lynX lynX at
Tue Apr 29 07:09:51 PDT 2014

On Tue, Apr 29, 2014 at 09:05:00AM -0400, Nathan of Guardian wrote:
> With Orweb and Orbot, we build in DDG as the default search engine.
> Since all access via Tor, it is deemed acceptable, and since they do no
> active logging, profiling, blocking of Tor, etc, DDG was chosen as our

Maybe you have a way to check that DDG doesn't do so, but they have
no way to tell you if the NSA actually does. And considering that
the NSA has always been doing everything it can, it is correct
to presume the worst by default.

> best default option. Also, their own DDG Android app/widget is
> open-source, and integrates with Orbot/Tor proxying directly.

Oh, you need an app to use search?

> > I am sure the folks are great, just like the ones
> > working at Google.. 
> Aside from being geographically located in the US, they are about as
> good as it gets for a search company. Not as just humans, but as an
> organization, and the decisions they have made WRT to privacy. As we

... are totally irrelevant considering US law that forbids them from
letting you know if the NSA has virtual memory access to all of
their servers. Probably there is just one person inside the entire
company who would know and must in no way tell anybody else.

To think that the NSA would let such a honeypot slip by is very naive.

> have seen, even if you are outside of the US, that does not make you
> safe from PRISM, or any style of legally or network-based surveillance,
> subpoena, etc.

It does make you safe from PRISM in the sense that PRISM is specific
to US jurisdiction. There may be other intelligence agencies that
may have a deal with their respective governments that allows them
to do full surveillance of for example. But until proven
otherwise I would rather use the search engine where bulk surveillance
is illegal rather than the one where bulk surveillance is guaranteed.

> > and the t-shirts that were distributed
> > at the NYC #TA3M event are really nifty. But still, why
> > use a service that by law has to comply to surveillance
> > requirements if you can use services that are outside
> > US jurisdiction?
> >
> > Somebody please explain.
> If there was a search engine company, service or project based outside
> of the US, that could match all the things DDG provides, I would
> definitely promote and use them. Does that exist?

Eh? ixquick provides nice results day-in day-out from my experience.
Are you willing to trade in your search query patterns for a bit of convenience?
You can make that choice for yourself, but you shouldn't for your users.

At least DDG doesn't correlate search strings to Google identification cookies,
so that is something better than nothing, but still.. why insist on services
on US soil after all we've seen? I'd rather get marshmellows from the US -
they don't have bugs in them (yet).

> I would also like to explore more decentralized, distributed search options.

YacY still adheres to the pure ideology of P2P, putting computational,
spidering and search load on each participant. There should be an
incentive for diverse people to run it in the Internet backbone and
a possibility to use a client that accesses the DHT without having
to participate in it and contribute back. Essentially, YacY should
learn from Tor.


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