DuckDuckGo’s HQ is Smaller Than My Apartment

Posted in Deception, Google, Microsoft, Search at 5:11 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission from the original

When I was perusing DuckDuckGo’s corporate website for their explanation of a tracker that they use which my Web browsers block, I found their corporate headquarters address.

The tracker is called Improving DuckDuckGo, and of course they always have explanations for everything they do that’s creepy, and they get caught lying all of the time. And of course, Techrights has pointed out things like this before.

The most concerning facts are that they’re US-based (a Five Eyes country with no decent privacy laws at the state or federal levels), and can be compelled to track you by law enforcement, and that they host on Microsoft Azure and also scrape Bing for your search results. Thus, Microsoft would see your IP address on both transactions and can log your activities on DuckDuckGo quite easily, using nothing else, unless you’re on some sort of a VPN that millions of people use (like I am).

But I googled (to get a Street View image) their address, 20 Paoli Pike Paoli, PA 19301, and it’s basically a small building that they share with a dentist’s office.

Due to copyright restrictions on the images, I can’t reproduce them here, but you have to go see this. Just trust me.

The building is so small that it’s like a one bedroom apartment with some DuckDuckGo images on the side.

I mentioned this to Roy Schestowitz in #techrights on irc.techrights.org and he replied that they don’t have to have much of a physical presence considering that they use Microsoft web hosting and scrape Microsoft Bing (which isn’t a very good search engine, privacy aside).

It was creepy enough when they used Amazon AWS, and it’s creepier now that they use Microsoft for both ends of the transaction.

DuckDuckGo claims that they have their own web crawling bot and that they’re not just Bing with different artwork, but for the most part, if you search both side by side, you see very little difference in what comes back.

DuckDuckGo has recently been advertising heavily on Chicago radio stations, including the rock station saying “The DuckDuckGo for privacy traffic report.”.

I don’t think they’re very private. They may be a little bit better than Google on privacy, but a lot of that certainly isn’t by choice.

Google got as big as it is by dominating search and paying off everyone to default to it, and then propping up other projects with that cash until they stood on their own. Google’s the biggest ad network on the internet, and the only advantages, I think, that DuckDuckGo, gives you, in a major way, vs. that is that they don’t have the scale of Google to insert trackers all over the web and DuckDuckGo doesn’t require you to sign in, in order to use much of anything on it.

Years ago, Richard Stallman mentioned that signing into Google to search with it was a bad idea, and he’s right. One of the reasons Google starts popping up annoying CAPTCHA images if you use a VPN is so you will give up and sign in, and then whenever they put an ad or a beacon on another site, it associates itself with you and your search traffic.

I have a GMail account, but I don’t sign into Google in my browsers. My email clients support signing in via OAuth and then I can pull in my mail without signing in. I also block most of their third party stuff in my adblock settings, and I use a VPN.

But Google still tracks. They and Facebook and Microsoft figure out dozens of ways to track in case you block any of those methods, something will work.


[Meme] 12 Years of Corporate Deplorables Running the USPTO

Posted in America, Google, IBM, Patents at 5:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

In the EPO (Europe), the regime is an aggressive dictatorship of corporations and litigation giants, served by António Campinos and Benoît Battistelli; in the US, it’s the corporations themselves

PragerU Reagan: Kappos, Lee, Iancu
Where are the civil servants?

Summary: It’s hard to swallow the idea (myth, fiction) that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office protects the ‘small person’ when it’s run by Mr. Iancu, an old Trump associate (protecting a high-profile fraud), preceded by Mr. Kappos (Microsoft and IBM lobbyist) and Michelle Lee (Google)


Linux Turns 30 as Windows Market Share Falls Below 30%

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, Kernel, Microsoft, Windows at 6:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum ea4893af387306b6eb8e46e9d2d32748

Summary: Linux is 30, Android is Linux-based, and Windows is smaller than Android in terms of market share; but the biggest challenge right now is bringing software freedom to more people

EVERYBODY has been speaking about Linux turning 30 (although the actual anniversary of importance is debatable, as Alex Oliva explained last week).

“…Android is one of the Linux-based operating systems that harm one’s privacy and freedom (even if AOSP is mostly Free software) because it comes with loads of proprietary “apps” and typically tracks locations.”No doubt Linux “has won” so to speak; but Linux is not software freedom, it is just a GPL-licensed kernel which many freedom-respecting operating systems use for practical/pragmatic reasons (Linux has very extensive hardware support that is almost impossible to match). As noted in the video above, Android is one of the Linux-based operating systems that harm one’s privacy and freedom (even if AOSP is mostly Free software) because it comes with loads of proprietary “apps” and typically tracks locations (see “Google’s Software is Malware”).

The Linux (or GNU linux-libre) work by Oliva mostly involves ‘taming’ Linux to make it more freedom-respecting, in turn allowing freedom-oriented distros to avoid the more malicious parts of Linux. Oliva’s work is invaluable!

“The Linux (or GNU linux-libre) work by Oliva mostly involves ‘taming’ Linux to make it more freedom-respecting, in turn allowing freedom-oriented distros to avoid the more malicious parts of Linux.”In the video above I’ve repeatedly alluded to how ubiquitous Android became (one might say “popular”, but that’s not the same thing). Android news is everywhere, all the time, very likely outpacing Windows ‘news’ (mostly paid-for vapourware and puff pieces) because billions of people care about their phones and tablets more than laptops and desktops. There are also tons of anniversary articles about Linux, including some from Android-focused news sites. There’s growing recognition that Linux “has won” in some sense or some senses.

At whose expense?

Mostly Windows!

Android versus WindowsMicrosoft is doing so poorly that it’s buying vendors and rebranding them “Azure” (in order to fake 'growth'), pretending that Azure is somehow an “operating system” now (it is not; they also reused the brand "Surface" in this way). Things have gotten so bad for Microsoft that we caught Windows at 28% market share earlier this year (here’s the latest data in OpenDocument format) and right now it’s still hovering around 30% while Microsoft constantly makes false claims about its market power, in effect defrauding shareholders. Here’s Android/Linux versus Windows, as per the end of August; if Android is combined with ChromeOS and GNU/Linux (“proper”), we’re talking about something close to 50% market share.


Linspire Should Be Avoided in 2021 Just Like It Was Avoided 14 Years Ago

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Google, Linspire, Microsoft, Xandros at 9:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum ab5b8a4ae65a514a3fdcc1898424c8e0

Summary: The brand “Linspire” was brought back, but the agenda seems to be more or less the same, namely pushing proprietary software and serving Microsoft’s commercial agenda (in ‘Linux’ clothing)

FOURTEEN years ago we called for a boycott of Linspire for its patent collusion with Microsoft. The same happened with Xandros, which would buy Linspire and temporarily push Freespire. That failed just like Novell and Turbolinux. Where are they today? Nowhere! Making alliances with Microsoft always leads to major blunders… and eventually commercial failure.

“That failed just like Novell and Turbolinux.”Well, the name “Linspire” has been repurposed. A few years ago this strange comeback was noticed with a worrisome slant — a Microsoft-centric “Linspire”, pushing Microsoft vendor lock-in, surveillance etc.

Microsoft and Linspire 2007
Trying the same thing all over again is assurance of failure

Not much has changed since then. Below we add two new links [1,2] (comments here; it’s boosted by Microsoft boosters who simultaneously promote other attacks on GNU/Linux) showing Linspire/Xandros as boosters of monopolies and surveillance, not just by Microsoft but also Google. That’s missing the whole point of GNU/Linux, pushing some sort of Microsoft-centric ChromeOS instead. They push Microsoft proprietary software out of the box (“With the Office 365 edition Bing will also be the default homepage and the default search engine in Google Chrome”) and brag about selling this. Whose agenda is served here? The issue is discussed in the video above.

  1. Linspire-Based Freespire Announces “Entirely New Direction” With Cloud Apps…

    What started off as Lindows twenty years ago as an easy-to-use Linux-based operating system with great Wine integration and easy application support but then changed to Linspire following a Microsoft lawsuit has had quite a journey. PC/OpenSystems LLC revived Linspire after a multi-year gap following the closure of Xandros and since then it’s been a rather peculiar platform. Today they are now shifting focus once again.

  2. Roberto’s Ramblings: Linspires new direction explained

    For the past year we have internally at PC/OpenSystems LLC launched a project called CLOUD9. The aim of this project was to create an OS that utilized cloud apps in replacement of traditional desktop applications. Some of those manifested themselves into Xandros Cloud but we wanted to bring that to all of our desktop users. Some of the efforts were successful (Xandros Cloud Office 365 was our best seller for our education customers and some of our enterprise customers) But we wanted to make the best Cloud centric OS that we could.


    Xandros OpenDesktop 2021 will come in two flavors. Standard Edition with all the Google services preinstalled and Office 365 edition which will utilize Microsofts web services. With the Office 365 edition Bing will also be the default homepage and the default search engine in Google Chrome. Both will ship with .NET Core, Powershell and Visual Studios Code. Local apps will include, Chrome, Video Player, Rhythmbox, games, Shotwell and Krita for image editing. Both editions of Xandros OpenDesktop will also include all the proprietary media codecs and DVD/Blu-Ray support


The One Reason I Cannot Get ‘Google News’ (or Google) Completely Out of My Life

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google at 2:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum bdb7fdcb69239f51ea841f32963e79d5

Summary: Google has got almost a monopoly on (nearly) real-time news syndication; this is why, for our Daily Links at least, we still rely on Google News to a certain extent

THE way we gather news has evolved a lot over the years; it actually predates this Web site as I’ve posted many GNU/Linux-related links on a daily basis since 2004 or 2005 (back then it was mostly in newsgroups/USENET, later social control media such as Digg.com).

“The Google monopoly in this area generally lowered Google’s incentive to maintain any sort of proper quality control (same as in social control media).”I’ve seen the rise and fall of blogs, I’ve witnessed the demise of RSS feeds, and various incarnations of social control media — partly responsible for this still-ongoing war on RSS.

Although Google barely advertises RSS feeds anymore (and the Google-funded Mozilla also reduced focus on such user-centric technology), they’re still available, albeit sometimes a little hidden.

Google News is the only thing from Google that I still use because sadly there’s no potent alternative to it (other than subscribing to many thousands of sites over RSS and then filtering the results, which can be a lot of computational work that barely scales for one user or few users).

In this video I explain how I manage to overcome the truly awful signal/noise ratio that plagued Google News in recent years. Sadly, they also started syndicating and including spam/plagiarism sites while delisting totally legitimate sites.

The Google monopoly in this area generally lowered Google’s incentive to maintain any sort of proper quality control (same as in social control media). Spying increased too, but by blocking JS and redirections one can mitigate a bit.

That’s just my personal experience. Let us know yours, e.g. in our IRC channels (incidentally, there this decent new article about IRC today).


Mozilla Does Not Respect Your Privacy

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Google at 1:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mozilla is the “socially acceptable” face of Big Tech. For example, Google and friends know you’d never “donate your voice” for whatever their next privacy eroding product is. So thank goodness they don’t have to ask you. Because an entity they invest ~ half a billion dollars into every year and which you trust (maybe it’s time to review that choice?) can ask you instead. So Mozilla creates a voice dataset and licenses it liberally so any surveillance capitalist like Google, etc., can use it.
Posted 2 days ago

Summary: Another facepalm-worthy moment or a dumb post from Mozilla; they’ve just missed an opportunity to keep quiet, instead writing about “DATA STEWARDSHIP” (they should reject data collection instead, but they hire surveillance capitalists and are funded by them, too)

New spin on spyware won’t make Mozilla any more popular. It’s already bad enough as it is, with Mozilla getting into politics where there’s no real need to. Why do they keep doing this? Burying Mozilla’s own grave as a company…

I still remember some Canonical staff writing in defence of Raspberry Pi staff putting Microsoft spyware inside millions of Raspberry Pi devices, without users’ consent and moreover covertly

On what planet do these people live? Do they even understand why people adopt Free software?

“Remember that the ‘data masters’ of Audacity are also the masters of Firefox . Same tentacles, same mouths.”For some background, see what we wrote about all that yesterday (there has been further coverage about this since). To be clear, it’s very much possible that this tactless post boils down to the opinion of one single person, not the whole company (whose stance is the collective opinions of more than one person), but hours ago it was posted not just in the personal blog but also in “Data @ Mozilla” (blog.mozilla.org). The author is one of their “Telemetry” or “Data Science” people, who use proprietary Microsoft spyware (GitHub/NSA/PRISM) to develop spyware for Firefox. “Data @ Mozilla” = surveillance by Mozilla. I’ve long warned Mozillans to not veer in that direction… but in a Google-funded Mozilla it can be frowned upon when you berate surveillance, not when you support it or make excuses for it. All that “privacy” posing from Mozilla is ruined by the true face of the company, now citing a talk for a notorious DRM player/giant (Ubisoft Data Summit 2021) as if to say that some spying is just “Responsible Data Collection”.

This was said in reference to Audacity, so should we assume that using an application which does not need an Internet connection (audio editor), unlike a browser, to spy on the user for the US government is OK? Is that what Mozilla is trying to tell us? Either way, this merely reaffirms the idea that Firefox funded by Google is just a coat of “open” paint on malware.

Of course it’s possible for application developers and vendors to just not collect any data in the first place; if authorities insist on accessing some users’ data, there’s no route for compliance, hence the requests are moot. And that’s how it should be. Remember that the ‘data masters’ of Audacity are also the masters of Firefox . Same tentacles, same mouths.


The Ridiculous Façade of ‘Ethical’ Monopolists and the Ludicrous Media Coverage That Parrots Their Lies

Posted in Deception, Google, IBM, Microsoft at 7:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: Corporate trolling by corporate actors is not a new strategy; they try to portray themselves as a force for good, whereas communities are supposedly unruly, racist, sexist and so on; this video discusses some new examples from the weekend’s news

YESTERDAY we mentioned the common misconception that unscrupulous Google and racist IBM are somehow our 'friends', unlike Microsoft. In reality, however, they’re just a different kind of foe. They don’t truly care about our freedom and they only ever pretend to value ethics.

“Ethics don’t get passed in a top-bottom fashion. They’re being demanded from the bottom by grassroots activism, not Public Relations firms employed by the rich and connected to corporate media (for puff pieces to be seeded/planted).”In the video above I allude to reports such as this one about Google and several about Microsoft, from media that’s habitually bribed by Bill Gates and media that basically amplifies face-saving lies from Microsoft officials [1, 2], e.g. this passage: “The photos were taken down globally from Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, on Friday — the 32nd anniversary of the event. A Microsoft spokesman said they were taken offline by mistake, attributing the removal to “human error.” The images reappeared around the world — outside of China — on Saturday.”

Microsoft NaziSo Microsoft censored not only for China inside China (removing history) but also for China outside China. This is the same company that profits from racism and shows no remorse for it.

In the case of Google, it takes quite the audacity to claim any sort of empathy for women. Google paid millions of dollars in secret to hide abuses against women by Google’s top executives [1, 2]. “That Google is stirring that up is an indication that they are wishing to distract from other matters,” an associate of ours noted.

Generally speaking, beware of the idea that sociopaths and career-climbing psychopaths are about ethics. At the EPO we’ve long seen Benoît Battistelli trying to paint himself as champion of “diversity” while surrounding himself by a French cabal; António Campinos is just as bad.

Ethics don’t get passed in a top-bottom fashion. They’re being demanded from the bottom by grassroots activism, not Public Relations firms employed by the rich and connected to corporate media (for puff pieces to be seeded/planted).

“Microsoft, a rather new corporation, may not have matured to the position where it understands how it should act with respect to the public interest and the ethics of the marketplace.”

U.S. District fudge Stanley Sporkin


Beware the Spin and False Pretenses as IBM and Google Are Dangerous to Software Freedom as Well

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Google, IBM, Novell at 2:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“An analogy [of Microsoft] would be the owner of a toll bridge, which is the only bridge across a river, paying the owner of land to deny access to a site where a competitive bridge is partly built.”

Judge Robert Bork, former US Supreme Court nominee

Summary: There’s a tendency to focus on just one “Evil Empire” (a reductionist over-simplification), but at the moment software freedom faces threats from GIAFAM and more; even Intel (the “other I”) is problematic

THE threat posed by Apple (to software freedom) is real and has long been recognised, even if Apple is posing as “UNIX” something. But a lot of people wrongly assume that Google is our friend because of programs such as Summer of Code (never mind abuses of privacy and ‘GPL condoms’ like Google’s attempt to replace Linux in Android) and that IBM, being the owner of Red Hat, is mostly benign if not beneficial. We increasingly find that IBM is the new Novell, not just because many people from IBM ran Novell and both companies fought in court against SCO but because both bought GNU/Linux vendors and then (still) leveraged software patents, liaised with Microsoft, and attacked the Free software community in a number of ways.

“And IBM would do just about anything — even desperate measures like killing CentOS — in pursuit of money, just to meet quarterly targets.”Microsoft is still very dangerous (for many different reasons), but let’s not lose sight of the potent threat posed by what figosdev called “GIAGAM” (I for IBM). IBM is dying but not dead yet. And IBM would do just about anything — even desperate measures like killing CentOS — in pursuit of money, just to meet quarterly targets. To better understand what goes on inside IBM watch these threads any day (I watch these about 10 times a day) as many are from insiders and former insiders. They think IBM is going down the bin, just like Novell did. They live on borrowed time, profiting from legacy products/profits/clients while they still last (and while they experience brain drain, a staff exodus, never mind layoffs).

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