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. Understanding Thierry Breton: Atos Healthcare - “The Ugly Face of Business”

    "...2,380 people died after their claim for employment and support allowance (ESA) ended because a work capability assessment (WCA) found that they were found fit for work."



  2. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, November 20, 2019

    IRC logs for Wednesday, November 20, 2019



  3. Microsoft Tim: Microsoft is Now Defending Linux

    The difference between fiction and reality



  4. Justice Peter Huber of the German Federal Constitutional Court (FCC) Calls 'Bullshit' a Rumour Nobody Really Spreads

    A sort of 'trial by media' (by Team UPC) compromises the integrity of the case (constitutional complaint) and can be interpreted as judges succumbing to lobbying/pressure from those who conspire to violate many constitutions across Europe for personal/financial gain



  5. Understanding Thierry Breton: What Thierry Did Next...

    "Whether by coincidence or not, when Atos announced in 2010 that it would acquire Siemens’ IT unit, it was the 32-year-old Macron at Rothschild who advised Breton on the deal."



  6. Links 20/11/2019: HONOR MagicBook With GNU/Linux, Coreboot 4.11, GNU Health Patchset 3.6.1

    Links for the day



  7. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, November 19, 2019

    IRC logs for Tuesday, November 19, 2019



  8. EPO Geared Towards Financial Exploitation of Europe Instead of Serving Europe

    For the financial benefit of law firms and patent offices (they profit from processing loads of patents and lawsuits) Europe is being reverted back to Medieval Times when exercising invention and free thought (or free coding) was a luxury of the rich alone



  9. Microsoft and IBM Are the Patent Trolls, They Won't Protect Us From Trolls

    "Microsoft has no taste" and IBM has no taste, either; they're lying to our collective face together with OIN and the 'Linux' Foundation



  10. How Ralph Nader Put It

    Ralph Nader on money in politics



  11. ZDNet (CBS) Associates GNU/Linux Users With ISIS

    Response to "US student was allegedly building a custom Gentoo Linux distro for ISIS," just published by ZDNet and composed by their biggest troll, Catalin Cimpanu



  12. Understanding Thierry Breton: Noël Forgeard and His “Golden Parachute”

    The end of the first half of the Breton series; in this particular part we continue to cover the EADS scandal and the second half of this series will include the EPO connections (the vote in a plenary for Breton's nomination is due 27/11)



  13. Links 19/11/2019: Zswap's B-Tree Search Implementation, WordPress 5.2.4

    Links for the day



  14. We've Already Entered the Era When Patents Should be Presumed Invalid

    The abundance of low-quality patents may mean short-term profits for patent offices and law firms; but we know at whose expense they are profiting and the legitimacy of patent systems suffers as a result



  15. Jean-Luc Breton

    Breton a champion of obstruction and obfuscation



  16. Understanding Thierry Breton: Insider-Trading Scandal at EADS

    Although Breton was not directly implicated in the insider trading scandal itself he did come under fire in 2007 for the role he played in a side-show to the main story, namely the payment of a generous € 8.5m severance package to Noël Forgeard when the EADS co-CEO was compelled to resign in June 2006.



  17. Startpage is Not Denying Its Betrayal of Privacy, It is Just Being Evasive

    They can't call you a liar if you issue a non-denying 'denial'; the "Roll Safe Think About It" meme seems applicable here



  18. Guest Post: Open Source is Not Free Software

    "If you look at human history, you can see lots of similar ideas, movements, intellectuals who are affected by the power of the ruling class like this."



  19. IRC Proceedings: Monday, November 18, 2019

    IRC logs for Monday, November 18, 2019



  20. Links 19/11/2019: HPC Focus and LibreOffice 6.4 Beta

    Links for the day



  21. Understanding Thierry Breton: “Rhodiagate” and the Vivendi Universal Affair

    When the "Rhodia affair" became the "Breton affair"



  22. Links 18/11/2019: Last Linux RC, OSMC Updated

    Links for the day



  23. What GitHub is to Open Source

    Lots of prisoners inside GitHub



  24. Openwashing Institutionalised NPEs (OIN) and Software Patents With Notorious Managers From the EPO

    There’s a strong push for software patents in Europe (basically fake European Patents on abstract ideas) and IAM leads/participates in it with help from OIN, Grant Philpott (EPO) and — maybe soon — Breton (EU)



  25. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, November 17, 2019

    IRC logs for Sunday, November 17, 2019



  26. Links 17/11/2019: Slax Beta and Arch Conf 2019 Report





  27. Understanding Thierry Breton: The “Cost-Killer” Tries to Tame the National Debt

    The oligarchic policy of Thierry Breton at Bercy



  28. Reactions to Last Week's Thierry Breton Hearing

    Nobody is particularly impressed by Thierry Breton except those who know little about him (and he contributes to this lack of knowledge by obstructing, omitting, and misleading)



  29. The Open Invention Network Has Become a Guard Dog of (Some) Patent Trolls and It Misrepresents Us Under the Guise of 'Open Source'

    The Open Invention Network (OIN), in collaboration with Fraunhöfer, is promoting software patents and all sorts of other nonsense as part of ‘open’ standards in a new paper sponsored by the EU and edited by the former EPO Chief Economist Nikolaus Thumm (not Battistelli's choice); this is another reminder of the fact that OIN misrepresents Free/Open Source software (FOSS) developers and their interests



  30. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, November 16, 2019

    IRC logs for Saturday, November 16, 2019


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