EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

10.16.19

Startpage and System1 Abuse Your Privacy Under the Guise of ‘Privacy One Group’

Posted in Deception, Marketing, Search at 11:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

STARE-page, staring right at you

Startpage and Privacy One Group

Summary: Startpage has sold out and may have also sold data it retained about its users to a privacy-hostile company whose entire business model is surveillance

FOR MANY years I had advocated ixquick (later redirected to Startpage); then it introduced some JavaScript mess and I stopped using it (went to Wikipedia and SearX instead). That mess was partly addressed recently, so I temporarily returned to using it. But then I was extremely disappointed to discover what had happened. I must share my findings and strongly insist that people stop using Startpage (or ixquick). They’re not what they seem. Not anymore.

About 3 weeks ago “Who are the owners of Startpage?” was published in the support pages of Startpage. It’s a bit vague and went under the radar. To quote: “Startpage, the world’s most private search engine, is owned by Surfboard Holding BV. Surfboard Holding is a privately held Dutch company registered in Zeist, The Netherlands. In its early years, Surfboard Holding had numerous shareholders. However, during its significant formative years, Surfboard Holding shareholders were substantially reduced to its core founders, who acquired a majority stake in 2006. We most recently welcomed Privacy One Group Ltd, a privacy-focused division of System1 LLC, as a significant new shareholder. Surfboard Holding’s founders and management continue to own an important stake in the company and lead its privacy focused-mission. You can find the press article here.”

“They’re not what they seem. Not anymore.”This linked to “Building a more private internet experience with Privacy One Group,” which gives the impression this is about privacy.

But this is System1. It’s a pay-per-click behavioral ad company. Startpage was sold to a pay-per-click behavioral ad company!

The Web site of the company says “System1 offers a new approach to attracting users and expanding audiences” and “We have buying strength across multiple networks and have unique search and ad partnerships with Google, Bing and Yahoo.”

“But this is System1. It’s a pay-per-click behavioral ad company. Startpage was sold to a pay-per-click behavioral ad company!”If Startpage becomes just another Spying Engine, what benefits are left to it? Nothing. But it’s even worse as it’s falsely being marketed as “privacy” (or “Privacy One Group” — a deliberate misnomer). Those who need privacy and private search can be physically harmed!

We’ve actually researched this for a while and spoke to people who might know more. But this is mostly shrouded in secrecy. Startpage prefers it that way and it issued vaguely-worded statements with words like “privacy” thrown in. “I have not been able to find anything on Privacy One Group at all,” one person told us. “I’ve checked the EU, US etc. Let me know if you find anything. Maybe it’s just a name that sounds good?”

Having done some further searching (not using Startpage, obviously!), we’ve found this Reddit conversation with about 100 comments.

“For the time being we can recommend SearX…”In summary, Privacy One Group is the very opposite of privacy, judging by the ‘upstream’ owner. It’s a mass surveillance operation, presumably for commercial reasons. Who the data gets shared with (e.g. search strings, what’s clicked and so on) we don’t know, but we must assume the worst. Oh, and just to be sure… everyone knows that DuckDuckGo (DDG) is also surveillance (and false marketing of privacy). Right? Everyone is aware, we hope. We covered this several times more than half a decade ago.

For the time being we can recommend SearX (when its pertinent instances are online, e.g. https://srx.sx/ which works at the moment but had uptime issues in recent weeks). It’s Free software as well, not just better at privacy (GNU Affero General Public License)

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, April 02, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, April 02, 2020



  2. Links 2/4/2020: Linux 5.6.2, Qt Creator 4.11.2, LineageOS ROM Based on Android 10

    Links for the day



  3. OIN in 2020 Resembles Linux Foundation in 2020 (Corporate Front Group Piggybacking the Linux Brand)

    We regret to say that the Open Invention Network seems not to care at all about Software Freedom; to make matters worse, it is a proponent of software patents and a voice for companies like IBM and Microsoft, not the "Community" it fancies misrepresenting



  4. Inside the Free Software Foundation (FSF) - Part IX: Semi-Happy Ending

    Richard Stallman is here to stay and the FSF will let him stay (as chief of GNU); we want to close the series on a positive note



  5. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, April 01, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, April 01, 2020



  6. Upcoming Articles and Research Areas

    Although we've failed to write as much as usual, we're still preparing some in-depth articles and maintaining Daily Links (in spite of unforeseen ordeals like a forced laptop migration)



  7. Links 2/4/2020: ProtonMail Bridge for Linux, GTK 3.98.2 and Red Hat DNF 4.2.21

    Links for the day



  8. Links 1/4/2020: Linux 5.7 Merges, Qt 5.14.2, GhostBSD 20.03, Linux Mint 20 Ulyana Plans, WordPress 5.4 “Adderley”

    Links for the day



  9. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, March 31, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, March 31, 2020



  10. Techrights to Delete Articles From All Past Years to Save Disk Space

    What if we deleted over 25,000 posts?



  11. IRC Proceedings: Monday, March 30, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, March 30, 2020



  12. Links 30/3/2020: GNU Linux-libre 5.6, WireGuard 1.0.0

    Links for the day



  13. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, March 29, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, March 29, 2020



  14. Links 30/3/2020: Linux 5.6, Nitrux 1.2.7, Sparky 2020.03.1

    Links for the day



  15. The Fall of the UPC - Part IX: Campinos Opens His Mouth One Week Later (and It's That Hilarious Delusion Again)

    Team Campinos said nothing whatsoever about the decision of the FCC until one week later, whereupon Campinos leveraged some words from Christine Lambrecht to mislead everybody in the EPO's official "news" section



  16. Pretending EPO Corruption Stopped Under António Campinos When It is in Fact a Lot Worse in Several Respects/Aspects (Than It Was Under Benoît Battistelli)

    Germany's eagerness to keep Europe's central patent office in Munich (and to a lesser degree in Berlin) means that politicians in the capital and in Bavaria turn a blind eye to abuses, corruption and even serious crimes; this won't help Germany's image in the long run



  17. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, March 28, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, March 28, 2020



  18. Links 28/3/2020: Wine 5.5 Released, EasyPup 2.2.14, WordPress 5.4 RC5 and End of Truthdig

    Links for the day



  19. IRC Proceedings: Friday, March 27, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, March 27, 2020



  20. The Fall of the UPC - Part VIII: Team UPC Celebrates Death, Not Life

    Team UPC plays psychological games now; it is trying to twist or spin its defeat as good news and something to be almost celebrated; it is really as illogical (and pathetic) as that sounds



  21. Links 27/3/2020: GNU/Linux Versus COVID-19 and Release of GNU Guile 3.0.2

    Links for the day



  22. When Your 'Business' is Just 'Patent Portfolio'

    Hoarding loads of patents may seem impressive, but eating them to survive is impossible if not impermissible



  23. LOT Network is a One-Man (Millionaire's) Operation and Why This Should Alarm You

    The ugly story of Open Invention Network (OIN) and LOT; today we take a closer look at LOT and highlight a pattern of 'cross-pollination' (people in both OIN and LOT, even at the same time)



  24. Faking Production With Fake Patents on Software

    The EPO with its illegal guidelines (in violation of the EPC) can carry on churning out millions of fake patents that European courts would only waste time on and small companies be blackmailed with (they cannot afford legal battles)



  25. With the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Out of the Way Focus Will Return to EPO Corruption

    Expect the European Patent Office (EPO) to receive more negative attention now that the ’cause’ of UPC is lost and there’s no point pretending things are rosy



  26. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, March 26, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, March 26, 2020



  27. Links 27/3/2020: qBittorrent 4.2.2, Krita 4.2.9, pfSense 2.4, Bodhi Linux 5

    Links for the day



  28. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, March 25, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, March 25, 2020



  29. Still Work in Progress: Getting Those 2,851 Pages of Police Report About Arrest for Pedophilia in Home of Bill Gates

    It’s extremely difficult to get those police records, which were requested exactly one day before the media started attacking Richard Stallman (associating him with pedophiles based on a deliberate distortion)



  30. Links 26/3/2020: Plasma Bigscreen, New Kubernetes, Fedora's New Identity and Bodhi Linux 5.1.0

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts