No personal information exchanged with DuckDuckGo
by clem 33

DuckDuckGo is always looking for ways to strengthen trust in its strict privacy policy. They’ve been further emboldened in this effort after PEW recently reported “91% of adults (in the survey) agree or strongly agree that consumers have lost control over how personal information is collected and used by companies.”.
One area where they can convey more trust and transparency is in their relationship with partners. To this end they made a request to us and we’re happy to oblige by publicly stating that “There is no personal information exchanged between Linux Mint and DuckDuckGo.”

33 thoughts on “No personal information exchanged with DuckDuckGo

  1. someyou Jul 17,2015 11:58

    In my opinion Ixquick.com has usually better search results, but I keep using DuckDuckGo for it’s features. Add !yt to search bar and it redirects to youtube results, !ix for Ixquick, !osm for Openstreetmap, !w for Wikipedia and there’s a lot more than that.

  2. Matthew Morgan Jul 17,2015 13:32

    I really like DDG for doing searches related to troubleshooting and general PC tech-related stuff. Every once in a while I have to swap over to Google, but rarely. I find that for my technical searches DDG seems to have a better signal-to-noise ratio than Google. I would not have even tried it if it weren’t for their stance on privacy though–that means a lot to me. As someyou said above, their cool bang options are pretty neat too and I’m finally starting to remember to use them recently.

  3. exploder Jul 17,2015 18:38

    Duck Duck Go keeps getting better and I use it by default when I use Firefox.

  4. mrdachshund86 Jul 17,2015 22:22

    Duck Duck Go has been my main search engine, even back in my Windows days. I know that this is a minor point, but Duck Duck Go just plain looks better than Google or Yahoo. The latter two look like they’re stuck in the last decade. For search results, Duck Duck Go might be better, but I haven’t used Google in a while so I wouldn’t know.

  5. Laban Jul 17,2015 22:23

    Linux Mint and Duckduckgo are entities that convey trust. Their main mission is the end user and his well-being. We are very grateful that you exist. Thanks for the beautiful work you do. We are glad somebody takes privacy seriously in this time and age.

  6. musashi Jul 18,2015 04:45

    honestly DuckDuckGo is not that good for non-english searching.
    i have to switch to startpage.com once a while.
    but DuckDuckGo always been my first choice because they are taking privacy seriously.

  7. alamanjani Jul 18,2015 12:42

    Have a quick question regarding DDG search. Is there a way to search for something in past month or say last 6 months?

    • Cid Jul 19,2015 13:30

      You can add !date to your search, this filters the results to return newest first, but to be honest it doesn’t work well and the results tend to have tangential relevance to your intended search at best. This is the one area where DDG lacks and the only time I use another search engine, otherwise its a better service all round, though the privacy ethos is of course the real clincher.
      It really waxes my ball that ‘googling’ has become synonymous with web search, replaced it even. I propose using Duckle instead.
      If you don’t know Duckle it… You’d be better of Duckling segfault…

      • alamanjani Jul 19,2015 16:53

        Cid, thank you very much! I will start using !date.
        They will improve it over time :-)

  8. m Jul 19,2015 15:35

    For work and casual searches Chrome w/ all the tracking stuff enabled is unbeatable, they really tunned the algorithms to provide a very close A.I. experience that serves up exactly what you’re looking for.

    For other stuff I just use Tor Browser + dnscrypt-proxy.

  9. Frank Cianciolo Jul 20,2015 00:49

    I know this is a bit off the subject but any words of wisdom about adobe flash?
    Thanks

  10. duncan lucas Jul 20,2015 21:26

    Frank remove it from your PC it is now officially in tech business circles “out of date ” . It continues to be full of holes even as of this date may websites are removing it Firefox has a warning on it everybody is switching to HTML5 . It seriously leaves you open to being hacked etc in Windows.

  11. VolMi Jul 20,2015 23:42

    words of wisdom about adobe flash?

    sudo apt-get --purge remove *flashplugin*

  12. Daniel Jul 21,2015 18:33

    What Linux Mint does to protect user’s privacy?

    How easy it’s for a program to access the webcam and mike?
    These two are the most important sources for personal information

    • clem Jul 22,2015 13:21

      A program has the exact same permissions as the user executing it. So, if you run something and you can access your webcam, that something can as well. If you run something that runs something else, that something else can as well.

      That’s a very good reason to stick to open-source programs (developers can read their source code and if there was something dodgy in there, they would be able to tell everyone), rather than proprietary applications (in which you don’t know what’s going on really..).

      When you use something like Chrome, you can monitor the network activity to verify that Chrome isn’t sending your personal data to Google. When you use something like Chrome over HTTPS, I don’t think you’re able to make sure what goes out… My point here is trust. You need to trust the editors of the proprietaty services and applications you’re using. If you don’t blindly trust them, stay away from them.

      It’s hard to answer though.. because there’s so many ways your privacy isn’t respected online, so many reasons why it’s ok (even for you… take ad targeting for instance, I want to see targeted ads with sports cars and cool gadgets, not random ads about pink dresses I don’t care about… take search results for instance, we don’t get the same results for the same queries on google, if my mum types Egypt she’ll get resorts in Egypt, if I type Egypt I’ll probably get history or politics… we’re bubbled and presented results that are made for us. But that’s ok too… when I type “python” I want to see code, I don’t want to see snakes… so the fact that Google actively gathers all that personal info on me is also a reason why they’re able to give me results that seem more “accurate” to me). And that last thing is.. it would cost you so much to actually preserve your privacy completely, I’m pretty sure the vast majority of people wouldn’t be ready to pay that price (not in money, but in terms of services you can no longer use, in terms of hassle to go through and restrictions to apply to yourself).

      • g Aug 17,2015 14:30

        This sounds a little discouraging when today you can get some decent privacy by using simple browser addons that work out of the box (Ublock Origin for example). You only break websites when you block scripts entirely with NoScript or when you use RequestPolicy but you can choose to use white-lists that let you forget about them running too so I don’t get your point.

        Being filtered on the other hand isn’t ok at all, this only enhances biases and stereotyped thought. Moreover you can’t get out of the filter, there’s no option for that. You can’t ask for general results instead, you only get tailored results without any access to the company’s profile about you. All you can and should do is to shift to StartPage and search Google anonymously thus not under an obscure psychological profile.

        I would like to stress the importance of not having to trust anyone when it comes to open-source software like Linux, as it’s all there for everyone to check what happens behind the applications windows, as you said.

        Privacy isn’t really hard to achieve. All it takes is caring. A lot of good guys out there make it possible for you everyday

        Cheers!

    • clem Jul 22,2015 13:31

      Talking about webcam and mike.. that reminds me of the pre-release announcements that the Xbox One would always come with Kinect and would need to always be connected to the Internet :)

      It’s funny because Microsoft actually also owns Skype these days.

      I don’t think they’d take the risk to do something stupid with these technologies though. They’re not in the business of personal data (at least they’re not big into it) and they’d have more to lose than to gain.

      If something like Skype came from Facebook or Google though, there’s no way I’d install it if it wasn’t fully open-source.

      Again, that’s just me, it all comes down to trust. Some of our code uses the webcam (the LMDE installer, the Cinnamon account details configuration tool) and people were worried to see their webcam activating itself when running these. And that’s perfectly ok. We’re open-source though, so not only did they trust us, but they could verify the source code and we were able to show them exactly why and how we were accessing the webcam.

  13. Anubhab Jul 22,2015 08:16

    I don’t know where to put it but I hope Clem and others would notice this. Dear Clem, will you please consider adding 4 digit pin lock support for login in mint(as in Windows 8)? It feels like a hassle to put in my 10+ character root password to login every time. Cheers! :)

  14. Pierre Jul 23,2015 16:46

    When I read papers about search engines and privacy, DuckDuckGo is always mentionned (which is a good thing of course), Ixquick and StartPage are often mentionned (or at least one of them). Searx based search engines are rarely mentionned (which is a pity) and almost nobody talks about Qwant and this is really really sad!

    I did try many times to switch my default search engine to DuckDuckGo but everytime I gave up because the results are very poor compared to google, especially for non-english searching.

    At the moment, Qwant is the search engine that respects privacy that gives by far the best results imho. I really encourage people to try it out. It would be nice if the Linux Mint team could add it in their default search engines list for firefox.

    https://www.qwant.com/

  15. Roberto Ronconi Jul 23,2015 21:56

    Share….
    comparto guia de buscadores generales y académicos, metabuscadores y directorios
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1LTlBSzGkb-AGnKz5HGB7j6mKGvfwEX-Mi0y1hUeqVDE/edit

  16. Daniel Jul 24,2015 07:05

    About “A program has the exact same permissions as the user executing it.”

    I was thinking that the operating system should be in charge for all the attached peripherals and when a program asks the OS to access the webcam or mike then, in turn, the OS shows a popup window to ask the user if he wants to give access to that program

    If the user gives access the OS could optionally show some icons in the systray to inform the user that the mike or webcam is turned on

    I also trust only open source programs, but there are some proprietary programs like Skype that I must still use for many reasons

    Basically I’m saying that even though I have the rights to execute a program I may not want it to access the webcam

    The OS should act like an intermediary that keeps track of which program is accessing what and informs and prompts me to make a decision where it cannot do it by itself

    Ironically enough, Windows 10 added a privacy settings page with this

    It would be very nice to see these in Linux Mint too

  17. eeh Jul 28,2015 17:45

    @Anuhab

    4-digit pin 10^4 = 10000 possibilities
    4-character pass (26+26+10+x)^4 = need i do the math?

    wth?!

    btw, do you login as root _every_ time!? See second paragraph and note that this applies to Windows’ concept of Administrator vs. Regular User too.

  18. eeh Jul 28,2015 17:47

    @m

    Tor Browser Bundle does all DNS over Tor. No need for dnscrypt-proxy there.

  19. paphnutiy Jul 29,2015 10:57

    personal information it is myth

  20. Timmie Aug 4,2015 11:19

    I like the protective approach proposed by Daniel
    http://segfault.linuxmint.com/2015/07/no-personal-information-exchanged-with-duckduckgo/#comment-296856

    Then, the OS would gain a mordern meaning beyond controling hardware / software interactions and graphical gimmicks.

    @Clem:
    What do you think about it?

    The same could actually be implemented for resource / energy use:
    a warning like software XY uses too many resources, maybe close some tabs?

  21. DarrenG Aug 4,2015 21:09

    I notice that TOR has switched to https://search.disconnect.me/

  22. Mel Sep 17,2015 23:18

    @Anubhab:

    I understand what you mean, but I have to say, I agree with @eeh. Do you seriously want to risk someone gaining access to your computer? (example: You’re in your room. You step away from your computer for a minute. (Even if you left the screen/computer “locked”)). The shorter the password, the easier it is for someone to figure out your password (because the shorter-in-length your password is, the less amount of time it takes for someone to guess your password, crack your password, and/or figure out your password).

    Having a shorter password is just ASKING for trouble.

    Thereby, in the same sense, asking for a shorter login password is just ASKING for trouble.

  23. Dietz Mar 27,2016 17:37

    Just read all the comments on the page. Not sure what all the fuss is about. I use Google for all my searches (best results ever). I use Flash – again, best results. The thing to remember is that you don’t EVER put stuff on the Internet, or your computer that you wouldn’t shout out in an auditorium full of gossips. It’s that simple, folks. Nothing that is personal goes on this laptop… no online banking, no credit card numbers, etc.

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