DuckDuckGo Info & Alternatives

I’ve heard that I shouldn’t use DuckDuckGo. Why is that?

We recommend that you don’t use DuckDuckGo if you seek a search engine that values your privacy. There’s no confirmed proof that DuckDuckGo is violating your privacy, but there are some very suspicious things, however, that make certain other search engines far superior in that regard.

  1. Gabriel Weinberg(), the founder of DuckDuckGo, used to run the Names Database.[1] This was a website that aimed to connect people who had lost contact by gathering lots and lots of e-mail addresses. Getting access could be done by either paying money, or submitting lots of e-mail addresses of other people. Since the service revolved around gathering personal information, it is very suspicious for Gabriel Weinberg to start a business that is privacy-oriented. [2]
  2. DuckDuckGo used to set a tracking cookie, even though they claimed they didn’t. This was done by a third party they cooperate with, which means that it wasn’t necessarily intentional, but if it’s unintentional, it shows a worrying lack of care. [3]
  3. DuckDuckGo is based in the US. This makes it really easy for the NSA to compromise it. If it were based in the EU, for example, the NSA wouldn’t have the legal power to force them to log everything without telling anyone. This wouldn’t guarantee privacy, but it would make it a lot more plausible. Instead, they’re based in the US, which means that the NSA can do whatever they want with them. There are secure search engines that are not based in the US. [3]

Recommended Alternatives

None of this proves that DuckDuckGo is harmful for your privacy, but it is enough reason for strong suspicion. Luckily, there are search engines with a better track record. These are some suggestions.


These search engines are both run by the same company. Startpage gets its results from Google, meaning that it’s Google minus tracking, and Ixquick gathers its results from many other search engines, but not Google. Both give equivalent privacy. Which one to use is a matter of preference.The company is based in the Netherlands, and it has servers located in the US and the EU. It is advisable to configure it to use only EU servers in the settings. There are many other settings which can give you extra privacy, often at the loss of performance. It also allows you to save settings with a simple, non-identifiable URL, in order to avoid cookies. It takes privacy very seriously.

Startpage is now owned by system1, an advertising company. I’d avoid startpage like the plague. [4][5]


Searx is a privacy-respecting metasearch engine with more practical features compared to Startpage and Ixquick, but with less privacy features. Its most important quality is the fact that it’s completely free, libre and open source. This means that you can see what the server is supposed to be doing (keep in mind that there is no way to verify that the server is running the public source code), but it also means that other people can set up their own instance. There are many other instances which provide the same features. This makes it very hard for agencies like the NSA to compromise it. Even if searx is controlled by the NSA, they wouldn’t have control over the other instances, and getting control over all instances would be practically impossible.

You can find searx instances on [ONION URL]



[3] - Dead link



taken from the old 8ch /tech/ FAQ archived here:

with a few personal edits