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11.09.19

Startpage Shows Sheer Hypocrisy After Selling Out and Betraying Privacy (Corrected)

Posted in Deception, Search at 2:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Startpage’s tweet of irony

Startpage's tweet irony

Summary: After more than half a decade of using and advocating Startpage I’ve come to realise it’s a spying operation and Startpage hopes nobody will notice

TECHRIGHTS is now older than 13 years; at no point did the site focus on privacy as a topic to cover, except in Daily Links (or sometimes the privacy violations at the European Patent Office (EPO)). But the more we cover it, the more people come forward with pointers, observations and analyses. So deeper we dive! Because a lot of companies out there turn out to have lied all along about their privacy stance. It’s just grotesque.

“I’m finding other privacy-focused companies are being sold/invested in by U.S. companies,” one reader told us, alluding to several recent articles of ours. “This points out why it is so important that we ask companies questions about their ownership and data processing. We cannot simply assume that our favorite privacy services remain unchanged…

“Another favorite of mine, Wire, was reportedly sold this summer — which is strangely curious for reasons I cannot say. I’m looking into it.”

“…the more we cover it, the more people come forward with pointers, observations and analyses.”And now Startpage has the audacity to (re)post the above from this article: “Why did this Chinese company purchase Grindr when they couldn’t expand it to China or get any Chinese benefit from it? Did they really expect to make money, or are they in this for the data?”

Didn’t Startpage do something similar? It went to bed with System1, which is an appalling employer (judging by online reviews by employees) that used to be called something close to what it does: “Brain Juicer.”

They rebranded/renamed to the somewhat generic “System1.”

One what? What system? How vague…

[Correction: A reader has pointed out that there’s “a TOTALLY SEPARATE COMPANY called System 1 Group PLC or something like that — formerly BrainJuicer. I don’t believe it’s related to the U.S. System1. System1 is terminology used in marketing, which is why many companies use the term and why there’s more than one similar name. Here’s more on “types of thinking” that most likely influenced the names of these behavioral ad companies. So System 1 thinking sways us emotionally — which is why so many companies, marketers, advertisers go for that. They don’t want us to think through things logically and take time because it might cause us to make more rational choices — and perhaps not spend $.”]

We believe they’re like a ‘lesser’ Cambridge Analytica and still investigate the matter. They’re selling data and — as we've noted yesterday — they pretend to be a privacy company. That’s the very opposite of what they are, so it’s a good decoy.

“We believe they’re like a ‘lesser’ Cambridge Analytica and still investigate the matter.”Also interesting, according to that above reader, is the way “that Startpage is asking about reasoning behind another company’s investment when it won’t answer questions about the System1 investment in Startpage.”

Indeed.

On goes the reader: “What’s really strange is how many people seemingly aren’t aware of the System1 purchase and the scandal over the mysterious “Privacy One Group Ltd.” I see people visiting the @startpagesearch Twitter feed — people I know who care about privacy and would never use Startpage if they knew Startpage wasn’t answering questions about how much was purchased by a pay-per-click company — retweeting as usual.”

The chief/founder of Startpage attempted to recover from our coverage; but all he had to offer was non-denying waffle; nowhere did he refute what we wrote.

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