DuckDuckGo Sees Apparent Exponential Growth
July 1, 2016
The Tor-enabled search engine DuckDuckGo has received attention recently for being an search engine that does not track users. We found their activity report that shows a one year average of their direct queries per day. DuckDuckGo launched in 2008 and offers an array of options to prevent “search leakage”. Their website defines this term as the sharing of personal information, such as the search terms queried. Explaining a few of DuckDuckGo’s more secure search options, their website states:
“Another way to prevent search leakage is by using something called a POST request, which has the effect of not showing your search in your browser, and, as a consequence, does not send it to other sites. You can turn on POST requests on our settings page, but it has its own issues. POST requests usually break browser back buttons, and they make it impossible for you to easily share your search by copying and pasting it out of your Web browser’s address bar.
Finally, if you want to prevent sites from knowing you visited them at all, you can use a proxy like Tor. DuckDuckGo actually operates a Tor exit enclave, which means you can get end to end anonymous and encrypted searching using Tor & DDG together.”
Cybersecurity and privacy have become hot topics since Edward Snowden made headlines in 2013, which is notably when DuckDuckGo’s exponential growth begins to take shape. Recognition of Tor also became more mainstream around that time, 2013, which is when the Silk Road shutdown occurred, placing the Dark Web in the news. It appears that starting a search engine focused on anonymity in 2008 was not such a bad idea.
Megan Feil, July 1, 2016