Government Spying Sends Users to Private Search Engine DuckDuckGo

By Cameron Scott 

search engines, privacy, bing, google,Since it was revealed in the first week of June that the NSA monitors global email and phone activity in part by obtaining information from major Internet service providers including Google, traffic on the more privacy conscious search engine DuckDuckGo has risen by about half, the company said.

DuckDuckGo, founded in 2008 and first funded in 2011, differentiates itself from its behemoth competitor Google by eschewing user tracking and customized search results. It also says it delivers fewer spam results.

On June 1, the website had 1.6 million direct visits and 14 billion users of its search API. That number ticked up dramatically after the website was mentioned in mainstream media reports on how users could avoid the NSA’s wide-reaching digital dragnet of personal communications. This Monday, June 10, the website saw 2.2 million direct visits and 16.9 million calls to its API. Its traffic has continued to meet those numbers throughout the week.

The shift is one small rebuttal to the oft-cited paradox that U.S. users claim to want more online privacy but do not patronize privacy-conscious Web services over those, like Google, that employ user tracking and other potentially invasive practices.