Startpage replies to questions about ownership change - gHacks Tech News

ADVERTISEMENT

Startpage replies to questions about ownership change

Startpage, a popular privacy focused search engine that operates out of the Netherlands, published a new FAQ on its websites in which several answers are provided regarding the change of ownership that took place recently.

Privacy One Group Ltd acquired a stake in the company which is owned by the advertising company System1. System1 states that it uses "technology to make advertising better and safer, while respecting consumer privacy".

The change raised fears and questions, especially since Startpage or System1/Privacy One Group Ltd provided little information about specifics off the deal. We asked important questions here. and others have done the same.

startpage system1 privacy one group

Startpage published an article on its site recently that attempts to answer some of these questions and reassure users of the service that the deal has no privacy implications.

Here are the main revelations of the article:

  • Startpage remains headquartered in the Netherlands/EU and the Startpage founders will continue to run the company.
  • Startpage founders have "control over all Startpage privacy implementations". The company notes that "the Startpage founders may unilaterally reject any potential technical change that could negatively affect user privacy" and that "notice must be given to end users for any privacy-related change".
  • Startpage user IP addresses are not shared "with any party".
  • The way advertisement is served has not changed.
  • System1 owns a majority stake in Startpage.
  • System1's "businesses generally do not involve building or maintaining user profiles and little user information is processed or stored within System1".
  • Privacy One Group Limited is a Delaware registered company.

To summarize: Startpage states hat nothing has changed in regards to how the service operates in regards to user privacy.

The publication leads to another question: why has System1 / Privacy One Group Limited made an investment in Startpage? What is the motivation behind it?

Startpage attempts to answer that question as well by providing a statement of the Chairman Michael Blend and the CEO Ian Weingarten of System1.

In it, the company representatives state that the investment was made " because we believe Startpage serves a critical role in maintaining consumer privacy, and we hope our resources can help Startpage bring privacy to millions of new users around the world".

Closing Words

The whole situation could have been avoided if Startpage would have been transparent about the deal. The publication reveals critical information about the deal and should reassure some users. Others may require additional information or clarification, e.g. whether data is shared with Privacy One Group Limited or System1.

Now You: What is your take on the development?

Summary
Startpage replies to questions about ownership change
Article Name
Startpage replies to questions about ownership change
Description
A new support document on the Startpage website reveals details about the recent ownership changes that tool place.
Author
Publisher
Ghacks Technology News
Logo
Advertisement

Previous Post: «
Next Post: »

Comments

  1. Tarmin said on November 18, 2019 at 7:39 am
    Reply

    No thanks. It’s been sold, no takebacks.

  2. Shawn said on November 18, 2019 at 8:00 am
    Reply

    In other words the company that invested wants bownie points on their porfolio so that the other evil actions don’t look as bad.

    Or buying karma either way if startpage benefits without change I consider it like finding a 20 on the ground at the end of the month =)

  3. Neko said on November 18, 2019 at 8:50 am
    Reply

    Yeah, right…

  4. Bryan Denham said on November 18, 2019 at 8:57 am
    Reply

    And what about Startpage mail server. I have a Startpage mail account, will that be effected in anyway. As yet, no information has been forthcoming from Startpage.

    1. peter said on November 18, 2019 at 4:55 pm
      Reply

      @Bryan Denham, I have an e-mail account too at startmail.com.
      I asked support of startmail, they escalated (forwarded) it to startpage support.
      But I don’t have an answer yet.

      When a CEO of a company that has to earn money, states that motives are altruistic, then I really start wondering.

      “because we believe Startpage serves a critical role in maintaining consumer privacy, and we hope our resources can help Startpage bring privacy to millions of new users around the world”

    2. Peter said on November 19, 2019 at 4:13 pm
      Reply

      Today I got this reply:

      Dear Peter,

      There has been no change with shareholders of StartMail and ownership has been the same since inception.

      Startpage, has new investor and we wrote about this on our blog when we understood that some users wanted to know more about the investment. You can find some information about the investment in this Support article – https://support.startpage.com/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/1275/0/what-is-startpages-relationship-with-privacy-onesystem1-and-what-does-this-mean-for-my-privacy-protections

      For both companies, delivering privacy-centric tools remains our top focus and our management/founders continue to have important stakes in long term planning and day-to-day operations.

      Please let us know if there’s anything else we can help with.

      Best regards,

  5. Martin P. said on November 18, 2019 at 9:19 am
    Reply

    Still smells foul to me.

  6. Benjamin said on November 18, 2019 at 9:51 am
    Reply

    Ask why should the internet be controlled by private entities instead of as a public service? What really can do private operations better than public ones? What are the pros and cons of private versus public ownership and such questions are not only necessary here but in much wider contexts. After all they all define what our life can be and not only those of so called share holders and financial markets.

    1. Tom Hawack said on November 18, 2019 at 12:44 pm
      Reply

      Because controlling is a private company’s aim. Supervising those who control is as tedious to practice as to define. Interventionism or protection, to what point? It’s an eternal problematic.

      But states supervising that much that it becomes state control isn’t any better and, IMO, worse.

      Pragmatically, public institutions are slow, conservative, little inclined to innovation whilst private sectors are the opposite. Freedom is the master-word. With its lot on inequities. France’s “Freedom, Equality, Brotherhood” (not sure it’s the best translation for “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité”) poses the eternal quest of freedom together with equality and the synthesis is precisely brotherhood. In other words mankind progresses slower but better with individual consciousness than with revolutions.

      1. Anonymous said on November 18, 2019 at 1:54 pm
        Reply

        > Pragmatically, public institutions are slow, conservative, little inclined to innovation whilst private sectors are the opposite.

        Socialist nations had explosive progress in industrialization, elimination of illiteracy, science and technology, health care, well-being of the workers, by giving them democratic control on the production as opposed to the greed motivated monopolist capitalists who fought progress when it would hurt their short term profits. There is a reason why the left wing is called progressive. Before you take as a proof of an ability to fuel progress the example of the few places where the capitalism focuses all the human effort, take note of the huge amount of misery everywhere on the planet, north and south, that would have been solved long ago without them holding the wheel.

        > Freedom is the master-word

        Freedom for shareholders only, de facto slavery for real people.

        > France’s “Freedom, Equality, Brotherhood” (not sure it’s the best translation for “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité”) poses the eternal quest of freedom together with equality and the synthesis is precisely brotherhood”

        No, historically this french revolution phrase does not oppose freedom and equality, on the contrary it means that freedom arises from equality, and oppression from inequality. At this time the bourgeois were progressive in their struggle against the dominant aristocracy. Of course later the reactionary capitalists overturned the original meaning, with contortionist semantic games like the one you just played.

        > In other words mankind progresses slower but better with individual consciousness than with revolutions.

        Nowadays it’s hard to find even among the hard liners, people conservative enough to argue against all the progressive revolutions of history. You’re one of those. So much for your love of innovation.

      2. Tom Hawack said on November 18, 2019 at 3:41 pm
        Reply

        @Anonymous, it’s all a matter of balance. When corporations aim control to the point of being the first (OK) and only (not OK) then arises monopoly and the very contradiction between the freedom which helped them be the first and the dictatorship of being (or aiming to be) the only. There is no freedom without competition and even the Americans themselves are aware of the dangers of monopolies. At this point interventionism is required in my belief.

        Socialism is a word I deeply dislike, indeed. Yet I strive for a better world, at my level, free of demagogy. I dislike as well ultra liberalism, I even hate it. There is a balance to aim in my opinion, but nothing is possible without freedom. Again we are faced with freedom vs. equality, and I emphasize on their duality and in that duality being explicitly meant in France’s “Freedom, Equality, Brotherhood”. If does not mean that freedom arises from equality but that both are a republic’s aspiration and that brotherhood is the synthesis of the first thesis and the second antithesis. Free philosophers, intellectuals, thinkers, those not blinded by demagogy, interpret the three aspirations within this scheme, not only me. Freedom and Equality therefor brotherhood. If freedom had been interpreted as the consequence of equality then we would have had “Equality, Brotherhood”. “Freedom” takes its place and enlightens on the awareness of the French Revolution’s thinkers of the dangers of dictatorship, that of what was to become and be named socialism. 1789 was not socialist when socialism is mainly a politically correct attitude nowadays. Far left, should we disagree, is far more substantial, closer to reality of those who suffer elsewhere than in the arena of a few socialist intellectuals.

        The aim for any lucid and honest mind, IMO of course, is to face reality, aim progress, strive when red lines are bypassed, help our neighbor before flying in the lyricism of social concepts which lead to nothing. If American I’d be a “democrat” and it is that blue party’s approach we need in France as elsewhere. I think here in France we’re on the right path at this time. This said, and to illustrate this red line I mentioned, I’ve always been far more aware of the far-right concepts and regimes than those of the far-left. Again it’s all in a balance.

      3. finoderi said on November 18, 2019 at 4:06 pm
        Reply

        I was born and raised in USSR. You have no idea what a retarded bullshit you’re spreading about socialism.

      4. David said on November 20, 2019 at 4:55 am
        Reply

        I wouldn’t call the short-circuit from feudalism to dictatorship an example of “socialism” as Marx had in mind. Socialism is precisely what it sounds like — social control over society and our democracy instead of the authoritarian plutocracy we have now. We have our own oligarchs here in the USA and they are becoming more brazen and vicious. I certainly sympathize with anyone who endured life in the former USSR. It was marked by deprivation, human rights abuses, and authoritarianism. But my adult children now live in a world with many of the same defects as the old Soviet Union, and it’s becoming clearer every day to them how little Capitalism is doing for any of us. A different world is possible, one that we choose together — as a society.

      5. Tom Hawack said on November 20, 2019 at 12:42 pm
        Reply

        @David, red lines are indeed bypassed. Your comment is appreciated. My eternal wish is to avoid throwing the baby out with the bath water. What differentiates two major approaches once we agree that red lines are bypassed by capitalism is to wonder if the problem is structural or circumstantial. In the former case we deny freedom of capitalism in order to adopt the equality of socialism; in the latter case we consider getting back on the right track a free economy and its lot of inequities. I still consider there is hope. Indeed “socialism” needs to be correctly understood. If considered as the people aggregating their determination and talents in order to get back on track a system we nevertheless do not deny, then count me in.

      6. Joe Jackson said on November 18, 2019 at 8:03 pm
        Reply

        Sorry Anonymous, ‘freedom’ and ‘equality’ don’t tend to work together. Freedom means do as you want, and equality means forcing those with more to give to those with less. You can do one or the other, but not both.

      7. Tom Hawack said on November 18, 2019 at 11:11 pm
        Reply

        @Joe Jackson, equality means equality of rights, equality in a socialist approach may lead indeed to “forcing those with more to give to those with less”. Equality understood only as a constraint in perspective contributes to the validity of socialist concepts. I believe equality is a universal value far beyond political dogmas, it is a basis of humanity. Neither equality nor brotherhood belong to the left nor to the right, implicitly stating they would contributes to the hatred of the Western world and values.

    2. Anonymous said on December 4, 2019 at 7:21 am
      Reply

      Because pubic entities are government entities, all governments are corrupt so why would you want them to be involved, private people are the true public. You must have gone to school too much.

  7. flash said on November 18, 2019 at 10:05 am
    Reply

    Honestly, if you want to bring privacy to millions of people, then you don’t become a controlling shareholder of the privacy company you’re trying to support. At least not when your business model is the antithesis of privacy, because why wouldn’t that throw up red flags to every privacy conscious person?

    The most honest solution would be to create and finance a foundation which then gives money to worthy causes, with the right kind of stipulations of course.

    In the end I’m not convinced. The fact that an explanation like this is even needed makes me question how much it can be trusted.

  8. pauL said on November 18, 2019 at 10:14 am
    Reply

    Sure, Startpage CEO probably thinks he is talking to retards. The only tryth is that there can’t be privacy and ads at the same time. At least Google and MS Bing are giants and won’t re-sell my profile to the next bidder from China.

    1. John Fenderson said on November 18, 2019 at 5:00 pm
      Reply

      @pauL: “The only tryth is that there can’t be privacy and ads at the same time.”

      Except that’s not actually true. It is entirely possible to have ads and privacy at the same time. What you can’t have is individually targeted ads and privacy at the same time.

      1. Jason said on November 18, 2019 at 6:05 pm
        Reply

        Exactly. Newspapers, magazines, tv and radio stations all existed on the premise of no-tracking for a very long time (admittedly less so for TV than the others). It’s entirely possible to make healthy profits without tracking people.

        I wanted to believe this is what Startpage and the advertising company were going for: some kind of business model that serves no-track ads to privacy conscious people on Startpage. Sadly, that hope was dashed when I read the quote at the end of Martin’s article:

        “we believe Startpage serves a critical role in maintaining consumer privacy, and we hope our resources can help Startpage bring privacy to millions of new users around the world”.

        This is meaningless claptrap. An advertising company does not buy a privacy-focused search engine to guide the humanity toward private web searches. It is pretentious and insulting that this was ever offered as an explanation.

        If there were a legitimate privacy-related business model they were going for, they missed the opportunity to tell us.

    2. Yolorag said on November 24, 2019 at 7:04 pm
      Reply

      As if anyone in China gave a shit about you.
      Instead of worrying about imaginary treats, pay attention to what Google and Ms can do with your information in your country.
      It’s ridiculous to think someone on the other side of the world, would have any interest or use of your data.

  9. Simon said on November 18, 2019 at 10:58 am
    Reply

    “Startpage user IP addresses are not shared “with any party””

    Sorry, but I thought, according to their privacy policy, that a users IP address is not even recorded in the first place?

    Their privacy policy CLEARLY states that –

    “We don’t record your IP address

    The only exception is for automated search requests (robots) that rapidly submit more queries to our servers than any normal human would.”

    Does this mean that their privacy policy HAS been violated?

    1. John Fenderson said on November 18, 2019 at 7:11 pm
      Reply

      @Simon: “The only exception is for automated search requests (robots) that rapidly submit more queries to our servers than any normal human would.”

      Does this mean that their privacy policy HAS been violated?”

      Not necessarily.

      With any website you interact with, the website must have your IP address. Without that, there wouldn’t be any way for the website to send the webpage to you.

      When a site says that they “don’t record your IP address”, that doesn’t mean they don’t look at or use it, it only means that they don’t write it into a log somewhere. A system certainly could adhere to that while keeping your IP address in memory for long enough to be able to detect a DOS attack, then decide to record the IP address only in that circumstance.

  10. Anonymous said on November 18, 2019 at 11:10 am
    Reply

    “Startpage founders have control over ”

    “System1 owns a majority stake in Startpage.”

    How do these two square?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 18, 2019 at 11:30 am
      Reply

      I don’t have any insights but probably as part of the contract.

      1. Anonymous said on November 18, 2019 at 11:47 am
        Reply

        Help me out. Can’t a contract be modified/worked around in some way if you have a majority stake? Like, it’s their company now.

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on November 18, 2019 at 12:42 pm
        Reply

        I’m not a lawyer but it depends entirely on the contract (which we don’t have access to).

      3. Anonymous said on November 19, 2019 at 3:39 pm
        Reply

        So the possibility is there. That’s all I’m asking about: that their reassurance is not that definitive and should be taken with care.

        Thanks.

  11. Mountainking said on November 18, 2019 at 11:20 am
    Reply

    How is it different from ghacks change of ownership?? lol

    1. Tom Hawack said on November 18, 2019 at 2:01 pm
      Reply

      The amount. Martin is now listed in the very select Top 10-million richest men in Germany. Be noted I have the privilege of being noted in France’s Top 60-million richest Frenchmen. I might be the first in my list and Martin, last in his, who knows?!. No further information.

    2. Tom said on November 18, 2019 at 3:34 pm
      Reply

      gHacks is a website about software tips, not a privacy focused search engine.

  12. owl said on November 18, 2019 at 11:40 am
    Reply

    It was a long time ago, in selecting the “Global search engine” of default, after making a relative evaluation in viewpoint of practicality from choices, it was decided by the elimination method.
    As a result, it was what I selected “DuckDuckGo”.
    I am In my purpose, does not feel frustrated to DDG.

    It was also DDG until now,
    Perhaps even the future it remains DDG.

  13. Tom Hawack said on November 18, 2019 at 12:31 pm
    Reply

    “System1’s businesses generally do not involve building or maintaining user profiles and little user information is processed or stored within System1.”

    “generally” and “little” is a vague terminology. When and what need to be explicitly formulated.

    “[…]the investment was made ” because we believe Startpage serves a critical role in maintaining consumer privacy, and we hope our resources can help Startpage bring privacy to millions of new users around the world”.

    Patronage?

    Basically no substantial information is provided. But I won’t stop using Startpage. here in France I connect to eu.startpage.com and checking the connections, including the ‘behind-the-scene’ ones shows no 3rd-party. Remains Startpage itself, what does it collect of my queries? No idea, as well as other search engines, besides maybe Swisscow, I’m sure of nothing. But at least no connection to 3rd-party sites are established, which is already a satisfaction.

    Always worthy to use several search engines.

    1. ShintoPlasm said on November 18, 2019 at 12:36 pm
      Reply

      I thought you used Qwant as your primary search engine nowadays, Tom? :)

      1. Tom Hawack said on November 18, 2019 at 1:15 pm
        Reply

        @ShintoPlasm, I use four search engines, Qwant and Starpage are two of them. The third is Swisscows and the fourth was until yesterday searX which I’ve abandoned because it’s facing (whatever the instance) too many and recurrent problems when retrieving answers from several other search engines). I’ve replaced searX with a search engine I’ve discovered, testing it, seems interesting, has its own Web crawler and is named ‘Mojeek’, with a “j” :=).

        Qwant and Swisscows deliver Bing answers, Startpage delivers Google answers, Mojeek its own. No demagogy here, perpetual discover-test in mind. Honesty? I use essentially Starpage given its sourcing in Google results brings me, generally speaking, the best results. But Mojeek is surprising me, in good.

      2. ShintoPlasm said on November 18, 2019 at 4:24 pm
        Reply

        @Tom: Another search engine I have recently discovered is Yippy (h t t p s://yippy. com/) – maybe give it a try as well? It’s quite bare-bones and doesn’t seem to do much in the way of region-specific searches, but it does give me very accurate results so far.

      3. Tom Hawack said on November 18, 2019 at 6:30 pm
        Reply

        @ShintoPlasm, I’m discovering Yippy (exclamation as a Yahoo!). Looks interesting, I’ll offer the site a free psy-analysis (digging into its depths). Thanks for the info.

      4. David said on November 18, 2019 at 4:52 pm
        Reply

        I agree with you Tom on searx.me. Far too often I get the result “Engines cannot retrieve results:
        google (unexpected crash: CAPTCHA required) ” and I’ve noticed too that, in Privacy Badger, the domains “commons.wikimedia.org” and “upload.wikimedia.org”, which does not come up in startpage.com or Duckduckgo.

        If the above is improved, maybe I’ll go back to searx.

        Also, it was Liz McIntyre who said to be careful when using other searx public instances as some may not be honest.

        That’s why, for the moment, despite the controversy, I’m staying with startpage and duckduckgo.

      5. Tom Hawack said on November 18, 2019 at 6:22 pm
        Reply

        @David,

        “Also, it was Liz McIntyre who said to be careful when using other searx public instances as some may not be honest.”. So true. There’s a trend for honesty and as always less honest may try to integrate the band. Good you recall/mention it

        “If the above is improved, maybe I’ll go back to searx”. Same here except that I’m not sure it depends of searX’s code. The trend for honesty is understandable and welcomed but one has to admit that it’s often performed on the back of sites pointed as dishonest,

        – searX has no crawler of it’s own so in fact it collects the work of others.
        – Invidious, a so-called replacement for YouTube, gets its videos from YouTube, with more and more difficulty : Google doesn’t enjoy, who would?
        – Nitter, same with tweeter, collects its data and offers the tweets in a light area. No problems so far.
        – searX, same, gets its results from places who collected them in the first place. Google blocks now, DuckDuckGo as well as it seems. Bing Search seems to be the only search engine offering itself like the ladies of my dreams when i was a teen-ager :=)

        What I mean is this : yes, I appreciate and use those front-ends but I certainly won’t get revolted should their sources block access, which is normal.

        To de-stress from distress I like to remind myself that humor is a good option when the stakes are not vital : cat and mice :=)

      6. Liz McIntyre said on November 19, 2019 at 12:21 am
        Reply

        Yes! You must trust the owner of the searx instance. There could be a rogue instance.

        There are instances run by privacy organizations. For example. La Quadrature in France runs one, and it’s an upstanding organization from what I’ve heard. If you trust them and believe they are honest and have a great privacy policy, that might be a good instance.

  14. hg said on November 18, 2019 at 2:19 pm
    Reply

    Switch to DuckDuckGo

    1. Gerard said on November 18, 2019 at 3:04 pm
      Reply

      The Duck’s jurisdiction: United States (runs on Amazon servers in the US).

      Are US-based search engines safe?

      1. The United States has extensive surveillance programs, which are carried out by various branches of government, such as the NSA.
      2. The US has a long history of working with (and forcing) private tech companies to facilitate bulk data collection efforts – see the PRISM program for details. (This raises questions about private search engines that are being hosted on Amazon infrastructure, a large US-based company.)
      3. US companies could be served National Security Letters or other lawful data collection demands […].
      These laws and capabilities essentially give the US government the authority to compel a legitimate privacy-focused company into a data collection tool for state agencies.[…]
      Restore Privacy does not recommend services that are based in the US.

      https://restoreprivacy.com/private-search-engine/

      At least Startpage remains based in the Netherland/EU.

      1. owl said on November 19, 2019 at 1:37 am
        Reply

        13 Best Private Search Engines for 2019 | Restore Privacy
        https://restoreprivacy.com/private-search-engine/
        In the link provided, the following explanation is clearly stated.
        In that view, “US-specific concerns are listed”, but “DDG is not denied”

        Best private search engines for 2019 (we’ll examine 13 different search engines)
        All recommendations in this guide are my own opinions based on extensive testing and research.
        November 15, 2019 By Sven Taylor

        13 different search engines:
        #5. DuckDuckGo – Private search engine based in the US
        DuckDuckGo has a verbose privacy policy that mainly discusses other search engines. It’s only when you get toward the bottom that you learn DDG is saving all your search queries:
        We also save searches, but again, not in a personally identifiable way, as we do not store IP addresses or unique User agent strings.

        Why is DuckDuckGo saving your search queries?
        The privacy policy states, “We use aggregate, non-personal search data to improve things like misspellings.”
        DuckDuckGo was launched a few years later, in 2008 and was branded as a privacy search engine. It rose to popularity in 2013 following the Snowden revelations. DuckDuckGo remains one of the most popular private search engines to date and is well-regarded in the privacy community.

        Private search engine FAQs
        Below we will answer some FAQs (frequently asked questions) with regards to private search engines:
        1. How do private search engines make money?
        2. Is DuckDuckGo really private?
        3. Are US-based search engines safe?
        4. How to keep your searches private
        5. Considerations when choosing a private search engine

        2. Is DuckDuckGo really private?
        DuckDuckGo is probably the most popular private search engine and it gets lots of attention in the privacy community. While DuckDuckGo is good in many respects, I’m not sure it’s the best private search engine when you consider all factors and options available.
        ● Jurisdiction: DDG is based in the United States (not very good for privacy).
        ● Servers: DDG is hosted on rental Amazon servers in the US (also not good for privacy).
        ● Ownership structure: DDG was started by Gabriel Weinberg in 2008. DDG is privately held and also backed by various VC investors.
        ● Revenue: DDG earns revenue from Amazon and eBay affiliates, as well as ads that are served through Bing.
        ● Search results and partnerships: DDG sources search results primarily from Bing and Yandex. DDG has a “strong” partnership with Yahoo, which is now owned by Verizon.
        ● Logs: DDG stores all search queries.
        ● Audits: DDG has not been audited.

  15. Gerard said on November 18, 2019 at 2:55 pm
    Reply

    So the System1 representatives stated that the investment was made “because we believe Startpage serves a critical role in maintaining consumer privacy, and we hope our resources can help Startpage bring privacy to millions of new users around the world”?
    Is System1 a charity, a group of privacy activists, a bunch of self-effacing idealists? I don’t think so. To my knowledge it’s a profit-oriented company in business to make money for the owners or shareholders. We may assume that the investment in Startpage was made with a profitable financial return in mind. We can only speculate about how they want to make money with Startpage.

  16. Cody said on November 18, 2019 at 3:51 pm
    Reply

    Privacy is a myth if you use your own device when browsing. So what if a search engine doesnt record your queries if Google can identify your device on the sites you visit.

    Google’s AI program mastered chess in 9 hours and they have already identified your device, browser(s) and every IP address you have connected to. If you they can’t decipher what you’re searching for with one of these “private” search engines, you’re mistaken.

    Google has bought EVERY technology/co that threatens their “rendering” of personal data. Know that when you see companies like DuckDuckGo and Brave that are supposedly threatening them.
    There’s a reason Google’s algorithm has NEVER been seen by an outsider.

    1. Jason said on November 19, 2019 at 1:52 pm
      Reply

      You’re describing Google’s possible future rather than its present. Despite their advanced algorithms, they continue to misidentify me on sites like Youtube all the time. It’s still quite simple to fool Google by just blocking their scripts. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

  17. Anonymous said on November 18, 2019 at 4:44 pm
    Reply

    Startpage bundled with malware and hijackers (still does), yet wants people to trust them now. Never gonna use a search engine that was part of malware

  18. Sol Shine said on November 18, 2019 at 5:30 pm
    Reply

    For now I will continue to use StartPage, next to DuckDuckGo.

    Personalized ads based on individual profiles are only a recent development due to the rise of the internet. Before that only profiles for demographic groups were used.
    So I do believe ads without individual profiles are possible and we should return to that sort of ads to respect users privacy.
    Perhaps that is what System1 wants and why StartPage agreed to the deal.
    Investing in privacy is a possibilty , because it is what the public wants, and companies that lose users trust can lose users.
    If System1 websites are know to have more privacy friendly ads, it could cause more users to visit their sites and disable ad blockers.

    But the initial lack of transparancy from StartPage and DuckDuckGo is concerning.
    Maybe they do have good intensions to protect users privacy, but are just bad PR managers ( a common thing to see).

    The flow chart StartPage showed and extra info in the CEO letter makes things clearer and should have been presented at the first announcement of the deal.

    I still have some doubts due to their incompetance, but for now I will give them the benefit of the doubt and keep using StartPage.
    It is still a lesser ‘evil’ than Google or Bing search, just like Firefox is a lesser evil than Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge.

  19. John Fenderson said on November 18, 2019 at 6:11 pm
    Reply

    “What is your take on the development?”

    Since I’ve never been a Startpgae user, I don’t really have a dog in this fight. Startpage’s statement about this says all the right things, though. I guess only time will tell about what the real impact of this will be.

  20. AJ North said on November 18, 2019 at 6:28 pm
    Reply

    Over the weekend, I found these two articles on the security and privacy of search engines:

    https://restoreprivacy.com/private-search-engine/ and

    https://www.vpnmentor.com/blog/best-private-search-engines-true-no-log-services/

    I am now testing MetaGer in my browsers (the portable versions of Slimjet and Firefox ESR); so far, so good.

  21. OM said on November 18, 2019 at 11:52 pm
    Reply

    i’ve moved on to greener pastures.

    these people might remain autonomous as they claim but their values to privacy are highly questionnable when they sell to a data mining firm.

  22. Jonas said on November 19, 2019 at 1:33 am
    Reply

    I just wanted to clarify something, although perhaps most people here already realize this:

    The options for advertising are _not_ just limited to these two kinds of advertising:

    (1) Before the internet, ads in print publications and broadcast media were targeted based on the nature of the publication or radio/tv show — “Popular Mechanics” carried ads for tools, and “Glamour” carried ads for cosmetics. That’s targeted (not random) advertising, but it’s not an invasion of privacy, especially if the customer bought the magazine anonymously with cash from a newstand. (Do those still exist?)

    (2) At the other extreme — the worst of advertising now, on the internet, involves building dossiers (profiles) about individuals (as Google and Facebook do), and using or reselling them for multiple unspecified purposes, a massive violation of privacy.

    But those are not the only options. For example, an internet search engine can deliver ads targeted to the kind of person likely to use particular search terms, _without_ building or sharing or selling any profile. You search for baby tips, you see (alongside the results) ads for baby food and diapers… but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re tracking or profiling you. You might only see the ads in that one SERP (search engine results page).

    I would like this new StartPage/System1 combination to clarify exactly what kind of targeting they use, or plan to use.

    Also… as I’ve said here before, I personally don’t see _any_ ads online because of a range of measures I take to block them. But I’ve also worked extensively in the publishing industry (books, magazines, websites) and I know that creating those publications costs money. A lot of money. We also know that most people value their privacy a lot less than their cash; they won’t subscribe (pay directly) if they can “pay” with their privacy. So… I’d be very interested in what people here think might be a viable — but moral — support model for publishing/media in the future. Because it won’t survive without _some_ kind of realistic business model.

    1. Sol Shine said on November 19, 2019 at 4:01 pm
      Reply

      Some people creat content as their hobby/passion and do not ask for money as long as they can pay for their servers internet traffic.

      Ads or subscription fees are needed to support some content.
      To pay subscription fees if you use many websites or publications is too expensive for many people.
      So for some content ads are needed.

      But ads do not need to be based on individual profiles to be effective, as history before the internet has shown. They can be based on the interests a user has shown like visiting a specific content website or entering certain terms in a search engine.

      The ad industry needs to stop using ads based on individual profiles and go back to ads based the interests the users has willingly displayed.
      To be more secure and stop the spread of malware they also need to stop the delivery of ads using javascript in the browser and move it the delivery to the server of website (again without using javascript from the ad networks running on the server).

      But the greedy ad industry will not do that because ads based on personal profiles are in theory more effective and so they can charge more.
      It is only when enough people start using adblockers and browsers that allow adblockers, that they will start to make a serious change.
      Too bad many good content websites may have gone under by then.

      Another problem is the security risk of content websites using so many features based on third party resources. So another reason to block external scripts and resources. But that is another story.

      So it may take some big industry changes on the internet before it is safe to stop using ad blockers to fully support good content websites.

  23. anonymous said on November 19, 2019 at 2:54 am
    Reply

    “Startpage user IP addresses are not shared “with any party”.”

    They previously said they don’t even record IP addresses. They can’t give out what they don’t have. It’s not clear based on that statement if they are still not recording them.

  24. NStArtpage said on November 19, 2019 at 3:27 am
    Reply

    Startpage have stated themselves on their web page since years ago that once in a while the search queries, due to some reasons like the EU server is , aheem… “overloaded” or “not available for the time” or something (can’t really remember the exact words) are sent to USA server instead of EU server, this in itself disqualify any statements Startpage are making, such as

    Here are the main revelations of the article:

    – Startpage founders have “control over all Startpage privacy implementations”.

    NOT TRUE, any web query going through US servers are TRANSPARENT to the agencies.

    – The company notes that “the Startpage founders may unilaterally reject any potential technical change that could negatively affect user privacy” and that “notice must be given to end users for any privacy-related change”.

    OK, will Startpage be so kind cut of any search queries from being sent over to USA server?

    – Startpage user IP addresses are not shared “with any party”.

    NOT TRUE, any web query going through US servers are TRANSPARENT to the agencies, Startpage simply can NOT control what is shared or not.

    1. vip said on November 19, 2019 at 8:05 am
      Reply

      – Startpage founders have “control over all Startpage privacy implementations”.

      NOT TRUE, any web query going through US servers are TRANSPARENT to the agencies.

      I think what StartPage means is that they, not their purchasers, have said control (nothing to do with servers or agencies)–not that I understand how an employee can tell the employer to shove off, and still keep his job.

  25. jan said on November 19, 2019 at 5:38 pm
    Reply

    What has Tom Hawack been smoking??

    1. boobyboy said on November 20, 2019 at 12:02 pm
      Reply

      Why, are you still pushing that 5-meo-DMT?

    2. No smoking said on November 22, 2019 at 1:11 pm
      Reply

      @jan No talking about smoking. You need to behave yourself.

  26. notanoob said on November 20, 2019 at 12:43 pm
    Reply

    My guess is Startpage’s goal was to make enough money from their private email service so they could keep providing their promise of private search. But I guess that failed, so they had to sell out.

    This could end up being good or bad, yet being that many if not most of Startpage’s users are likely neophobic and/or xenophobic, then that’s a challenging hurdle for these new owners.

    That said, all these claims, laws, and promises don’t mean much to companies who lie and don’t play by the rules.

    Among countless other tricks, they can simply say “Oops, we got hacked”, where in truth they just sold a back door leading to all that so-called “secured” customer info.

    Regardless, I still trust Startpage and will keep using them, as I’m a delusional fool who should never be trusted.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.