Geoff's Blog about DuckDuckGo and Privacy

Since I can’t post a response to @Geoff Perlman 's blog over at Movable Type without creating yet another useless internet service account. I’ll post here.

Geoff’s love for DDG is well founded (and I’m a Google shareholder). I agree with everything there and use DDG quite regularly myself.

I do have one followup to Jeremy’s comment about the un-structured results and his searching DDG for “Watch Kit” and getting generic watch repair pointers -

I just tried it using the more correct term “WatchKit” and here are the results I received:

As you can see, my results all related to the Apple Watch Kit and actually had no watch repair articles. Therefore, DDG is much like Google in that if you know how to ask the question before hand, you’ll get better search results.

Tim, you should post a link to the blog you are responding to.

D’oh - now I’m the one with the “not reading” syndrome :S

Geoff’s Blog

[quote=199442:@Tim Jones]Michel, please read my comment at the top of the post - in order to reply to Geoff’s blog, I’d need to create yet another internet service account. I’m personally maxed out at this point and don’t want to have to manage another account that I’ll not use again.

That’s why I posted this in Off Topic :).[/quote]

Without context, your response is kind of hanging in the air as a private joke. It would be more relevant if readers had a chance to also read Geoff’s post you refer to.

Problem is not responding – I feel the same about all these gazillion blogs incapable to understand they are not alone on the Internet.

[quote=199442:@Tim Jones]D’oh - now I’m the one with the “not reading” syndrome :S

Geoff’s Blog[/quote]

Thank you :slight_smile:

Apart from that, I have been using duckDuckGo for more than a year as main search engine. It is great.

I still go Google for a lot of things, though.

Nothing to do with privacy either, but I dumped AddWords a couple years ago and am a happy camper…

Disconnect.me

The NSA wants all your encryption…

PBS NewsHour - The U.S. government wants to be able to read certain data that’s inaccessible to intelligence agencies due to encryption.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mb043V3cTLQ

Privacy is almost dead.

The reason I did it like this was to prove a point that Google knew what I wanted, and it was just an example. There are hundreds of searches you can perform that will result in similar experiences. Using correct terms or not. I don’t have to be exact, it just gets it right (99% of the time). As I said in my original comment though, this is a two edged sword.

Here are two images from DDG and Google

We have to face the fact that intelligent algorithms are already putting together much too many pieces about every single one of us. I recently signed up for Twitter (yes, I am a bonified dinosaur from the Usenet era), and was horrified by the accuracy of the topics and people it was suggesting. All that from a single one of my email addresses.

I don’t tweet, twitter, flutter, flicker, instagram (cam?), facebook, netbook, etc… but the net still knows too much about me… and a heck of a lot about my father, who has never touched a computer his entire life!

Not a lot of mystery there unfortunately. Twitter makes a few attempts to get you to share your address book. So from other people who have you in their address book they are able to predict common interests. The people you follow and follow you have additional weight in the algorithm to recommend others.

Never going to happen. The mathematics behind encryption are not under their control, and there will always be someone willing to implement the math in code and compile it. When they manage to build a quantum computer large enough to break today’s encryption, there will already be new algorithms in place.

The real problem is securing incredibly complex machines, networks, and data stores. Systems that are far behind the ability of any single human being to verify. (And if it’s beyond a single person’s working memory, it’s arguably not verifiable.) The NSA may not be able to crack the encryption you used on an email, but they won’t need to if they can see your screen because of a firmware exploit. They may not even care about the screen if Google has provided them a complete profile.

As to search engines: every time I switch to DDG I get frustrated because it’s just not as predictive as Google. But then…do I want Google to know me so well that they can predict searches?

One thing that has always puzzled me about encryption… or more precisely automated encryption breakers.
How do they know that they in fact have decrypted it? Particularly if it is encrypted multiple times with multiple keys
and then the result is an obscure reference that only the recipient would know

I’ve setup Facebook for a client who wanted a business presence there. In the process Facebook displayed people I might know, not the business owner. It’s ability to connect me to people, including some I haven’t thought about in years, made me want to throw my computer in the trash and live in the woods. (Nothing against those people, just not happy about the level of corporate tracking.)

Mind you I did this from a clean browser (no cookies or history), did not use any info that was mine (like email), and I have never had a Facebook account myself. Assuming that there’s no breach outside of the browser that we’re all unaware of and Facebook is exploiting, that means Facebook can form connections based on IP address and has the ability to follow people across changing dynamic IPs. Info is probably gathered through their ad networks and possibly shared with companies like Google.

Not good IMHO.

I’m sure it was because Facebook has hacked the WebCam in your computer, and used facial recognition to compare you to Driver License database, and Tax Records… once they had your physical address and your Soc.Sec.Num… the rest was gravy… :slight_smile:

Dang I hope that is not really what happened!!!

[quote=199638:@Dave S]I’m sure it was because Facebook has hacked the WebCam in your computer, and used facial recognition to compare you to Driver License database, and Tax Records… once they had your physical address and your Soc.Sec.Num… the rest was gravy… :slight_smile:

Dang I hope that is not really what happened!!![/quote]

Since my MacBook lid was closed (plugged into external monitor) I doubt it. I don’t have an external webcam. But voice recognition…maybe Siri is a double agent? :wink:

A friend who has done this before confirmed that it was likely IP address, and had I taken the exact same steps with the same clean browser at a Starbucks it wouldn’t have linked me. (That’s what he does.) It’s creepy enough though.

[quote=199656:@Daniel Taylor]Since my MacBook lid was closed (plugged into external monitor) I doubt it. I don’t have an external webcam. :wink:

[/quote]
That only disables the built-in camera that you know about. :wink:

Maybe the mouse button and Enter key are fingerprint readers.

They know where you live! :wink:

BRB…have to reinforce my tin foil hat :wink:

Here is another example, just for completeness and correctness sake… Searching for “xojo xml writer” was looking for a fast, direct to disk, no DOM…

Searches like this happen to me far more than I’d like with DDG :-/