Duck Duck Go is a no-tracking search engine
Oct 17, 2014
8:12 PM EDT
|... or is it? ...
This is interesting. DuckDuckGo brags about it being a non tracking search engine. That's why I have been using DDG for years now as my primary search engine.
Well... I just discovered this today by accident. If you do a search and you hover your mouse over the search result, you will see a nice direct link on your status bar. Now right-click on that link and watch the status bar change.
So it looks like all DDG results loop back to DDG for redirection. If they are not tracking, then why are they looping everything back, and furthermore, why the stealth!
sheesh, what's up?
Oct 17, 2014
9:20 PM EDT
|Yep, well spotted.
I never trusted DDG, startpage.com and ixquick.com (both by the same company) are the only search engines that are trustworthy, IMHO.
Oct 18, 2014
11:10 AM EDT
|Per their website, they indicate that they are routing you to prevent search leakage. Whether or not they are doing something else with that I cannot say.
Reading that though, I got curious about the referer part. I wondered if other search engines are allowing the search terms to be sent as ddg claims. So I did some testing.
I performed a simple search for a linux distro in the following search engines: Google, Bing, Startpage, and DuckDuckGo.
Google, Startpage, and DDG all simply had a base URL as the referer in the request header when I clicked on the link to take me to the distro site. So all that site could determine, if they wanted to, is what search engine I used to get there. Fair enough.
Bing however included all of my search criteria in the referer thus making it available to the site if it chose to look for it. And if the site wasn't using https, certainly puts that out in plain text for any sniffers too.
These tests were done in both Chromium and Firefox, although I left my DNT on it Firefox (I don't know if that influences things or not).
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