A breakdown of the two search engines:
StartPage - Based in NL / strong privacy laws
Servers - owned and operated by them
StartPage is owned by Surfboard Holding B.V., a privately held, independent Dutch company, run by Robert Beens, whose only activities are operating StartPage, Ixquick and StartMail. No 3rd party investors or venture capital behind it as far as I could find. StartPage (and Ixquick) generates income solely from advertising (Google Ads).
Startpage has no partnership just a “Hello and Goodbye relationship” with Google - From Startpage ‘StartPage purchases search results from Google because they are known to be the best in the world. We also run Google ads. We have negotiated a very strict contract with Google to ensure user privacy is protected. We NEVER create any persistent user identifiers to send to Google, and we never transmit even a portion of a user’s IP, to safeguard our users’ privacy.’
Startpage has been audited by https://www.european-privacy-seal.eu/EPS-en/website-privacy-certification-overview
Startpage does not give out a HTTP header field that identifies the address of the webpage.
Duckduckgo - Based in US / very weak privacy laws
Servers - hosted using Amazon (AWS)
Bangs aren’t safe. For example typing “!g kittens in basket” and hitting return, drops you off on the Google website to display your results (thus logging your IP, search term and browser info immediately).
DuckDuckGo is owned by Gabriel Weinberg who is is the founder, current CEO and controlling shareholder. Investors/shareholders include Union Square Ventures and several others. DuckDuckGo generates it’s income from advertising (Bing Ads) and collects affiliate revenue (Amazon, eBay).
Duckduckgo and Yahoo partnership
Duckduckgo has no audit
Duckduckgo gives out a HTTP header field that identifies the address of the webpage.
Both companies were asked “if you were ordered to compromise your service/customer privacy in any way would you”
DuckDuckGo – Gabriel Weinberg said: “No one is preventing me from doing that.”
StartPage – “If we receive a request from any foreign government, including the United States, we will refuse to comply. Under the strong current laws that protect the right to privacy in Europe, European governments cannot legally force service providers to implement a blanket spying program on their users. Were that ever to change, we would move or close shop.”