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The search engine that stores no data - Duckduckgo

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The Guardian, who broke the story about Edward Snowden, Prism, the US spying program and the implications of privacy, monitoring and surveillance on the internet have noted a fascinating new development. The rise and rise of search engine, DuckDuckGo.

You may never have heard of it. It may have an exceedingly bizarre name which one website described as ‘sounding like a Chinese restaurant’, but its entire premise is built on not storing data or search terms in any way. Not only does this do away with the indignity of targeted advertising, but crucially, if there is no data saved, there is nothing for governments to hack into and steal. So more ducking for cover than crispy aromatic duck then

Within days of the shocking revelations about the NSA, Prism and the abject lack of security on the world’s biggest web portals, traffic to DuckDuckGo began to rocket.

"It happened with the release by the Guardian about Prism," said Gabriel Weinberg, the 33 year old founder of the search engine. "We started seeing an increase right when the story broke, before we were covered in the press." From 1.7m searches a day at the start of June, it hit 3m within a fortnight.

Like anything vaguely interesting on the internet, you have to really look for DuckDuckGo. It’s not available as a default setting on any browser or mobile app. But it doesn't use cookies or store data about its users' IP addresses, doesn't offer user logins, and uses an encrypted connection by default. Short of doing all your browsing through a series of VPN’s or something like Tor, if you want to continue using the household names, but not have your search history building a handy profile for consumer research companies and government agencies, then you may want to try converting too.

As Weinberg says, “search data is arguably the most personal data people are entering into anything. You're typing in your problems, your desires. It's not the same as things you post publicly on a social network."

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