Bonum Certa Men Certa

Startpage and System1: Lying for Almost a Year and Nowadays Making Things Personal/Ad Hominem (Shooting the Messengers)

Startpage and its apologists have become abrasive and aggressive, just like spies

Startpage tweet
A surveillance company advises people to keep "personal information private!"



Summary: As more people become aware of what a scam Startpage is (and has clandestinely been for nearly a year) the strategy seems to be further obfuscation and even personal attacks (demonising the critics/exposers)

THE TWITTER feed of Startpage is good for eye-rolling. It's a lot like the NSA's. They say they value security and privacy, but in practice they undermine both, for gain.

For quite some time Startpage attempted to keep secret the System1 transaction. Later they came up with some fictional "Privacy One Group" to 'come clean'. That didn't go too well, did it? As one site put it a month ago, "Who owns Startpage now?"

"They say they value security and privacy, but in practice they undermine both, for gain.""The exact answer to this question is not entirely clear," it says, "and it seems that is intentional."

"Also concerning is that the Privacy Policy of Startpage makes no reference to the new ownership structure and continues to suggest it is strictly a Dutch company," it adds.

Also it says: "There is no mention of System1 or the Privacy One Group, the members of which now hold an “important stake” in Startpage. Questions about the exact ownership structure have gone unanswered, aside from general statements."

"For quite some time Startpage attempted to keep secret the System1 transaction."On “Privacy One Group” it says: "While some are suggesting that this entity may be just a facade of privacy for the parent company System1, I’m not going to speculate. Ultimately, we don’t know much about the company – and neither Startpage, nor System1, nor Privacy One Group are offering these details."

Further down it adds: "So here we have an investor from New York and the co-founder of System1 sitting on the board of directors for Surfboard Hoalding BV, the parent company of Startpage. Ian Weingarten is currently the CEO of System1 and Robert Beens is the CEO of Startpage."

About timing: "Also notice that this change happened on December 31, 2018. Yet Startpage’s leadership did not make any announcement of this change until October 2019, where they described it as a “most recent” change. I do not think that a nine-month delay is a “most recent” development."

The author, Sven Taylor, concluded with this: "At the end of the day, an American ad-tech company that seeks to “gather as much data as possible” is still the majority owner of Startpage, a search engine that could be used to collect data."

"We've meanwhile noticed Startpage and its apologists smearing their 'opponents', mocking articles that unmasked the surveillance because the articles aren't in sites with encrypted connections, and not justifying decisions to relist surveillance sites in so-called 'privacy' directories."That was a month ago and a lot has happened since then, including what we called lobbying by the CEO earlier this month. Martin Brinkmann, a GNU/Linux proponent, wrote about that 3 days later, also with the face-saving PR of Startpage. Did that work? Seems so. "The whole situation could have been avoided if Startpage would have been transparent about the deal," Brinkmann concluded. "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."

That's kind of obvious, isn't it? Consider how dishonest these people have been all along and for so long (until they got exposed, whereupon it wasn't possible to hide anymore).

We've meanwhile noticed Startpage and its apologists smearing their 'opponents', mocking articles that unmasked the surveillance because the articles aren't in sites with encrypted connections, and not justifying decisions to relist surveillance sites in so-called 'privacy' directories. We don't want to link to these accusations (we've kept record and stock of these), which tend to be personal attacks that are substance-free. Startpage becoming as aggressive and as dishonest as spying companies may in fact be expected and predictable. After all, Startpage was bought by one and is now bossed by one.

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