I’m new to this issue and happy to commit us to move to doing this locally in the browser and will have us move on that ASAP.
That said, I want to be clear that we did not and have not collected any personal information here. As other staff have referenced, our services are encrypted and throw away PII like IP addresses by design. However, I take the point that it is nevertheless safer to do it locally and so we will do that.
And if this gets fixed in a reasonable timeframe, this is just one of those "everyone makes a mistake one in a while"-things, no big deal.
Can you imagine Google doing something similar? Heck, they're just about to throw the Android rooting community under a hardware-attestation DRM-filled bus.
It was a forgivable-but-negligent decision to write/approve that code in the first place. It was a sign of a bad process that a reported security vulnerability was not escalated to people security-conscious enough to immediately identify this as a major problem.
I don't agree with the outrage. Anyone who has followed DDG knows they're legit. They just need to do a bit better. They probably will.
Their main feature is privacy. They should be at least as sensitive to privacy vulnerabilities as their most aware users.
DDG should announce that they now pay out privacy-related vulnerabilities like this and send the reporter $5k. It would be good honest PR and well worth the expense.
The former. This is a quick initial fix that will fail on many sites.
At what point did we stop taking people's word and commitment as valid? Sure, I too want to see proof that they are doing the right thing here (because I don't understand the design decisions that led to the creation of that service in the first place), but because these changes are not immediate, this statement does at least answer some of the questions I personally had (Like "will this be fixed"? "when"?).
At the point that they where caught violating privacy while claiming to respect it, and standing to make a profit off of violating it.
If I trusted people as blindly as people seem to trust DuckDuckGo, I would have trusted Google to not be evil and never have switched to DDG in the first place. This breach of trust destroys the whole point of using it, so I switched my default search to Searx between reading this submission and writing this (had been procrastinating the switch for a while and this was exactly the motivation I needed).
"...as has happened so many times before."
Clearly it's not just the response.
‘we never used this data, other than showing favicons’
However, this problem demonstrates gross incompotence for a browser team supposedly concerned with privacy. Will you please do a post-mortem on how this code made it through your code review process in the first place, as well as how it managed to stay in place for a full year after it was pointed out that it represented a privacy problem?
"Sends every URL you visit to the vendor's servers" is the single worst thing DuckDuckGo could have done for privacy in this web browser, and that needs to be accounted for. There was a major failure in the code review process, ticket review process, and in how you treat your community. A standard marketroid "by design" response with washy promises that "we'll take very good care of this highly sensitive personal data, just trust us" is not something I want to see in the future from this team.
[reposted from GitHub]
I agree that for a company built around privacy even the appearance of impropriety needs to be avoided. DDG holds themselves to a higher standard and their users hold them to a higher standard.
This was a design flaw and a process flaw. DDG prioritized speed and efficiency over privacy (or in this case, perceived privacy) and I suspect there isn’t a soul on HN who hasn’t made that trade off at some point. They assessed the cost/benefit and risk/reward and it turned out their assessment was wrong. Now they’re fixing it. It happens. But to call this gross incompetence is really blowing it completely out of proportion.
The first rule of privacy is never handle the private data in the first place. An accidental leak is one thing, but deliberately designing a feature whose side effect is exfiltrating heaps of private data, then doubling down on it for a year after it's pointed out to you, then doubling down again when it's raised on HN - this is gross incompetence.
My browser syncs URL history between my devices, and that’s a feature that I value about it. Your comments on this topic seem to suggest that all users are making the same decisions about what is acceptable usage of their data, and that’s pretty obviously not true.
(I always knew there was a business model for privacy and I'm glad someone is working to figure it out)
It actually increases privacy there, DDG already know what domains your search returnedy and the alternative would be fetching favicons directly from websites, leaking information to them before even clicking.
Then they re-used the favicon service for their browser without rechecking the privacy issue and realising that browsers have different privacy needs.
But from your attitude I'm guessing that think you've never made a mistake...
It seems rather reasonable to assume that in the goal of maximising privacy in search engines, it would be wise to add user-friendly and convenient features so that the alternative is appealing and does not sacrifice too much convenience.
So, you do collect information just not the kind you would classify as 'personal information'. I wonder if my personal domain with my full name qualifies?
There is no way this feature would be created in a company built on privacy considerations.
Didn't that server endpoint need an upkeep? Didn't they wonder why it's getting all the traffic? Maybe they were DDOSed or something?
Multiple people in that company knew exactly what they were doing.
Considering they have operations in the EU, I would imagine that would fall under what the GDPR considers personal information (https://gdpr.eu/eu-gdpr-personal-data/), or risk being in breach of it.
Contrary to this framing, it’s not possible to not incidentally become aware of every single browser users’ usage timing and user IP addresses if the browsers are phoning home this way — a colloquial understanding of ‘collect’, not the James Clapper NSA dodge definition of ‘collect’. Most normals think of collect as become known not as permanently store. You knowing it means others can know it if you break trust or are required to comply with authorities.
And regardless of end-to-end encryption, that this user is phoning home to your fave icon endpoint, when, and from what IP, is revealed to every ISP in the chain. You’re leaking browser usage telemetry to every single party to that traffic — the source IP address PII you mention is in unencrypted metadata.
Privacy policies are a patch for insufficient privacy engineering.
To be a strong privacy browser you could consider what it would take to be “NSL proof” such that if handed a national security letter with gag order, you cannot comply. That is not the case with this faveicon telemetry endpoint.
Getting the icon from each site means surveillance would have to be at origin or every site, while telemetry going to DDG gives a single surveillance point.
It's not immediately obvious whether it is more privacy preserving if the client automatically makes a request to each site in the search results while scrolling through the results, especially since you're already trusting DDG when performing the search.
Maybe this should be an opt-in rather than an opt-out feature?
All in all its really not as big of an issue as people here make it out to be.
Anyway, great decision by Gabriel.
Scenario #1 - "We need to show favicons in our browser tabs. Lets develop an API that requires every domain be sent to us!"
Scenario #2 - "We need to show favicons in our browser tabs. Hey look, we've already got a service that provides this. We know it collects no PII and our users trust it already."
Obviously the second scenario is flawed thinking, because (of course) it's better to not send that info at all. However, I can easily see how their developer(s) may have arrived at the conclusion that this is still compliant with their privacy ethos.
The fact that the favicon service already existed (and was trusted by users) before this was implemented, makes it much easier to understand how this could have been a legitimate mistake and thus, they deserve the benefit of the doubt.
Please refrain from speaking for others without being asked to.
By way of analogy, when you earlier said "This is ludicrous. Can we switch to the metric system already?" no one thinks that you're speaking for everyone, but rather are advancing your own belief in the "This is ludicrous." sentence.
Firefox and Google Chrome probably have the equivalent of many small high quality libraries embedded in them, implementing 'business' logic or protocols, that could be reused in more places.
I guess a large scale study on github could be done, with a graph analysis to show potential "cut off" points in codebase.
It’s a bit telling that they linked to the GitHub repositories rather than specific lines of code they were talking about.
To me it looks to be trying to uphold your anonimity until you commit (click) through to the site/link. But certainly other ways they can approach this if it really bothers people.. I'd prefer DDG doing the lookup.. or having no fav icons.. over my computer going and downloading all my bookmark or other source icons
We all, including Mozilla!, have made design decisions that in hindsight could have been better.
The important thing here is dialogue and change. And both are happening.
So let’s call them out on that, briefly, then get on with the argument.
Edit: as pointed out by warpspin in another comment, this is about the DDG Browser, not search results.
This is mostly a UX issue IMO.
Not that I'm against making money. But there's a tipping point associated with some height value in a pile of cash, and once you cross that point then the pile controls you. DDG probably hasn't crossed that point yet, but self-justification is one of the steps on that path.
Do Chrome, Firefox, or Safari do this? I would assume they do it on-device.
CREATE TABLE meta(key LONGVARCHAR NOT NULL UNIQUE PRIMARY KEY, value LONGVARCHAR);
CREATE TABLE icon_mapping(id INTEGER PRIMARY KEY,page_url LONGVARCHAR NOT NULL,icon_id INTEGER);
CREATE TABLE favicons(id INTEGER PRIMARY KEY,url LONGVARCHAR NOT NULL,icon_type INTEGER DEFAULT 1);
CREATE TABLE favicon_bitmaps(id INTEGER PRIMARY KEY,icon_id INTEGER NOT NULL,last_updated INTEGER DEFAULT 0,image_data BLOB,width INTEGER DEFAULT 0,height INTEGER DEFAULT 0,last_requested INTEGER DEFAULT 0);
CREATE INDEX icon_mapping_page_url_idx ON icon_mapping(page_url);
CREATE INDEX icon_mapping_icon_id_idx ON icon_mapping(icon_id);
CREATE INDEX favicons_url ON favicons(url);
CREATE INDEX favicon_bitmaps_icon_id ON favicon_bitmaps(icon_id);
I haven't looked at Firefox and Safari but I assume they do something similar.
Also, in SQLite, note that LONGVARCHAR is the same as TEXT, and that you don't need to specify both UNIQUE and PRIMARY KEY (it is redundant), and that if it is not a INTEGER PRIMARY KEY and not WITHOUT ROWID, then it isn't the real primary key but just an index (same as UNIQUE); add WITHOUT ROWID if you want to make it a real primary key, but note that the way the data is stored differs then, and WITHOUT ROWID is inefficient with tables storing large blobs.
DDG is unneccessaryly producing (aggregating), transmitting (and collecting?) very sensitive user data here, which is just the opposite of data protection. I can't even understand why they try to justify their actions. It's like omitting the seat-belt in a car, then telling customers that this was required to make the in-car entertainment system more usable.
The transmission of ip address alone, which is necessary for the TCP request to happen, deanonymizes the request enough to not be considered anonymous within the GDPR framework.
GDPR Article 5 (1) c:
"Personal data shall be ...
adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed (‘data minimisation’);" - this is the "Datensparsamkeit" you mentioned.
GDPR Recital 30
"Natural persons may be associated with online identifiers provided by their devices, applications, tools and protocols, such as internet protocol addresses, cookie identifiers or other identifiers such as radio frequency identification tags."
Oh, and the fact I'm downvoted for a purely informational comment additionally does not shine a good light on DDG.
"When assessing whether consent is freely given, utmost account shall be taken of whether, [..] the performance of a contract[..] is conditional on consent to the processing of personal data that is not necessary for the performance of that contract."
As DDG's favicon-hack is not strictly neccessary for operating the DDG-browser, DDG would need to give users the option to opt-out of the favicon-retrieval, otherwise they may have "forced" the users to consent to the data processing, thereby voiding that consent as far as the GDPR is concerned.
Wouldn't they need to give users the option to opt-in, under GDPR?
So whoever thinks my interpretation is overly broad should first have the decency to step forward and actually explain why, instead of hammering a button and second, talk to me again after he had a meeting with the responsible authority and listen to THEIR interpretation of the GDPR ;-)
People should not mistake my interpretation with endorsement of the overly broad text of the GDPR itself.
Any human readable ways of dealing with that?
Or put another way, a TCP request sent by your app from my computer can not be considered anonymous.
IP-adddresses are considered personally identifying information. TCP requests transmit IP addresses.
Under the strict interpretation of the GDPR, a lot of things which are common outside the EU might be illegal, like e.g. embedding Google Fonts. To be on the safe side, people usually at least list these external dependencies in their privacy policies to construct some kind of "consent", but till we have more actual court rulings, this is a huge problem area.
For the problem at hand, it is pretty clearly illegal, as it's not only an ip address transmitted, it is a combination of ip address plus visited unrelated domain. This allows the creation of profiles. It does not matter for the GDPR, if the profile is ACTUALLY created, the pure possibility of creating it any time is enough to be a problem.
Art. 4 GDPR (1) clearly makes the (ip-address, visited domain) tuple personal data
Art. 4 GDPR (2) defines "processing" data, and the pure "collecting" of data, even if immediately thrown away, is usually already considered "processing", therefore the GDPR applies.
Do you really think then there is "nothing of interest for the GDPR" just because they do not actually permanently record that information? It would clearly be a violation. But to the GDPR, the importance of that data is equal. In fact, the domainnames might actually be more important to the law, as article 9 establishes event stricter rules for "sensitive" data about e.g. health or sex life of a person, and the domainnames might just leak that information.
If the TCP request carries personal data like the name of a visited website plus the user's IP address, then it "breaks the GDPR rules" in so far as you now have to fullfil your GDPR transparency/consent etc. duties /before/ sending that request.
Maybe not all website names look like sensitive data to you, but some website visits you surely want to be treated as sensitive, personal data (like names of hospitals, doctors, political parties, religion etc.).
Sure they can. Doesn’t mean you have to believe them.
Seems like time to get SearX a try now: https://searx.me
The service is private as we do not collect any personal information (e.g. IP addresses) on any requests for this or any service and the requests are all end-to-end encrypted.
Potentially saving a few requests here and there is certainly not worth phoning home with that kind of data regardless of what records you keep how much you do to anonymize it. This is especially true for a company that has built its brand on promises of privacy!
Besides, favicon requests are small potatoes compared to the kind of tracking, ads, metrics, and other often-unnecessary page resources that bog down most of the modern web. And a well-designed website can mitigate the issue pretty easily.
This is troubling.
If you say the service is anonymous and does not leak data, prove it.
If it's not present, then you have options, and yes, using your weird API is an option (which I still don't like, but ok).
But sending private information to your servers even when sites follow the standard show either that you're probably not trustworthy, or that your product team is so painfully incompetent that I'd be afraid to use their browser at all.
This sentence is 100% meaningless. I understand you have good intentions, but these things must rely on proof, never on trust. Either you get this information or you don't; whether you say you "collect" it is inconsequential.
It's a really bad look and you should ditch it.
Which presumably means you've already created the logic for determining favicons. I'm not sure why this couldn't be implemented in the browser.
I don't think here's a need for adjectives here. Why stress that it's anonymous (when that's hard to verify) or that the search engine is private, when that too is starting to come into question? Repeating these things won't will them into the reader's perception.
> In addition, doing it this way avoids another request (and potentially multiple) to the end site.
This isn't true, unless I'm missing something here? When I access a website, the HTML response I get from that website includes all the information my browser needs to, on its own, get and display the favicon. Can you clarify why you think/say this avoids one or more requests? What mechanism is this service a substitute for?
Not as worse as publicly denouncing an honest engineer while referencing his paygrade. I hope there is no affiliation you have with DDG to be honest, because this is much, much worse.
I was once an honest engineer too, publicly. Being honest in private is enough for me now. It’s a lesson worth learning.
That said, it’s not like a single HN comment will make or break a company, so if they’re really just a rank-and-file engineer, I hope the company won’t come down on them too hard. A simple “don’t do that” would suffice.
I use DDG and the possibility of getting a statement directly from an engineer conveys much more trust than a carefully crafted PR statement ever could. I would think again about using it if the company does indeed come down on employees that live the values the company writes on its flags to have honest and transparent business practices.
That said, I am careful too when I state things about my company, even if I believe there is nothing to hide. Still, people that think it isn't the place for others with knowledge to comment are often not too impressive and would have difficulties in convincing me that privacy and transparency are real goals instead of just looking decent enough.
Furthermore the naming of management of DDG creates a stark contrast to the suggestion for more professional distance. I don't like PR very much as you might have guessed, but like a good design it needs some congruence.
If people find out that you just shut up for your company, it might give people the wrong impression about their business.
By commenting on an ongoing PR crisis without consulting management, you are both undermining their ability to respond in an effective way — imagine how strange it would look to see a “Hey, X from <company> here” after an existing one was already posted — and you’re acting on your own rather than in a team. You’re a part of a team; how could you think it’s a good idea to act alone?
Of course, I am talking to my former self with this comment, since that’s exactly what I did at S2 when working on HoN. It was a mistake, and I gave the community the wrong impression about the company’s priorities.
You have to understand, when you’re given money to do a job, you’re not given authority to become that job. Just because your job is getting beat up on social media doesn’t mean you should just jump in and go “Hey, that’s not true!” It doesn’t matter whether it’s true. Here, let me pretend to be DDG:
“Hi, Shawn from DDG here. You’re right; this was an oversight on our part. Obviously we dropped the ball on this. To clarify, we were unintentionally gathering the data as a side effect of our favicon service. <some technical details here>. We’ll be acting immediately to reverse this, and we’ll be enacting policy changes to ensure that user privacy — our core mission — is maintained going forward.”
But that’s not what they said. And if you’re gonna tell the community the opposite of what they want to hear, you’d better be in charge of the company’s Telling The Community Things division.
Sounds like you'd prefer him to have run a message past management/public relations first?
All you have to do is to read this comment thread to see the kind of damage that a single statement by someone affiliated with the company can do.
Agree, didn't mean to imply that.
If that's true, then I am so glad they ghosted me when I applied there.
I'ts not like we couldn't have predicted this disaster.
One more reason to never trust a companies "word". Show me the code.
I have read your explanations in good faith and they don't cut it. This behavior cannot continue. Good privacy promises are not based on trust - they're based on not ever handling private data in the first place. If you don't quickly admit your mistake and roll this back, it will jepoardize your entire brand - and rightfully so. If you believe this behavior is okay, then it demonstrates incompetence; if you don't believe this behavior is okay but do it anyway, it demonstrates malice.
This is the one thing you Should Not Have Done.
Edit: I'm speculating here. But specifically because of the way you've replied here and on Github, my actual level of trust in DDG team went down.
Generally speaking. Mine is shielded with lead.
The repeated handwaving that no one in your company is ever going to do something bad or stupid when the browser phones home for what amounts to a cute sticker is extremely suspicious.
Curious to know why this is an issue.
An online favicon generator will create these variations
<link rel="apple-touch-icon" sizes="57x57" href="/ico/apple-icon-57x57.png">
<link rel="apple-touch-icon" sizes="60x60" href="/ico/apple-icon-60x60.png">
<link rel="apple-touch-icon" sizes="72x72" href="/ico/apple-icon-72x72.png">
<link rel="apple-touch-icon" sizes="76x76" href="/ico/apple-icon-76x76.png">
<link rel="apple-touch-icon" sizes="114x114" href="/ico/apple-icon-114x114.png">
<link rel="apple-touch-icon" sizes="120x120" href="/ico/apple-icon-120x120.png">
<link rel="apple-touch-icon" sizes="144x144" href="/ico/apple-icon-144x144.png">
<link rel="apple-touch-icon" sizes="152x152" href="/ico/apple-icon-152x152.png">
<link rel="apple-touch-icon" sizes="180x180" href="/ico/apple-icon-180x180.png">
<link rel="icon" type="image/png" sizes="192x192" href="/ico/android-icon-192x192.png">
<link rel="icon" type="image/png" sizes="32x32" href="/ico/favicon-32x32.png">
<link rel="icon" type="image/png" sizes="96x96" href="/ico/favicon-96x96.png">
<link rel="icon" type="image/png" sizes="16x16" href="/ico/favicon-16x16.png">
<link rel="manifest" href="/ico/manifest.json">
<meta name="msapplication-TileColor" content="#ffffff">
<meta name="msapplication-TileImage" content="/ico/ms-icon-144x144.png">
Nonetheless, the browser can see this when parsing the page and choose the appropriate path.
Besides, how do you handle Intranet, VPN sites, and auth-only sites where DDG's god-tier favicon parser in the cloud couldn't fetch the URL anyway?
Uncheck the very last option "Site Icons"
The issue, as I understand it, is that the Android app loads the favicon service for search results you actually open in the app.
Sidenote: The more I use pi-hole the more I realise how essential it is!
Those simpler popover-ads which can be closed clicking an X in the upper right corner still are blocked tho...
Spilling my secret tho (and YouTube execs hate me for it!): i block YouTube in my mind and only rarely go to it if i really need to watch a video (which, for me, is rarer than i ever thought it'd be).
Or mpv (for single videos, or local playlists), or mps-youtube, or youtube-dl.
Dear DDG, you are getting complaints on GitHub and Hacker News. This is not the general public, it’s people who understand the issue. You should definitely reconsider whether you’re doing something wrong.
That must be the worst justification for this possible. Favicons. Complicated to locate? Who are you trying to fool, 5 year olds?
Can you tell how many visited site A and also site B?
If you think the next time I hit the shitter I'm not going to be looking for a new browser, you're dead wrong.
Just do the basic checks and then fall back to a DDG logo, no one cares that much about the favicon.
... is completely irrelevant. Even if they were trying to save babies from a fire (which they really aren't) it wouldn't excuse the fact that they're doing something orthogonal to their stated policy and sole reason for existing.
Everyone makes mistakes, that's not the point. The point is to correct them when they're found, instead of digging one's heels in the ground and pretending it's nothing.
Nobody in the company at any point thought that it could be a problem?
How if you type a url into the browser how do you stop the browser from sending that url to ddg to get the favicon?
I accept DDG's statement that this is about a favicon and that they "do not collect or share any personal information", and despite that, I also agree with others that DDG should be on the safe side and just stop doing this small thing. It's just the safer and more moral thing to do (So DDG, as many are suggesting, plz stop doing it. Today is good).
But... the reaction here is "they made a mistake, let's pile on like kids in a playground" ignoring the genuinely huger issue of the amount of info and mining that google et al. do. There's no measure of proportion in the responses, someone is making a mistake then there's a wolfish, pack-like desire to get stuck in and hurt someone.
Which is why politicians rarely admit mistakes, because it's taken as a sign of weakness, not strength, to admit you were wrong. DDG isn't the big evil on the web but from reading some of these you'd think it was the 2nd google.
This isn't about DDG, just the proportionality of responses in public errors and what society you'd like to have.
(no affiliation to DDG)
It's really quite amazing that when a company that's hitched it's brand entirely to privacy first commits a big privacy faux pas, hides it for a year, and then doubles down on it not being a problem, you have somehow managed to turn the top voted thread to a discussion on the failings of other companies instead. Bravo.
Huh? It's an open source project. Maybe you consider them closing the issue on GH to be "hiding it" but I don't. And the plenty of people talking about it in that thread still apparently don't, either.
I do agree that it should be changed, but only because as is it seems imperfect and I seek perfection in most things. Again, it's an OSS project. AFAIK, any one of these people comprising the screaming masses are free to fix it themselves. Personally, I don't think it's worth my time.
Actual evidence is a different story, of course, but then you should be emailing it to email@example.com so we can take it seriously and investigate.
Lots more explanation at https://hn.algolia.com/?query=by:dang%20astroturf&sort=byDat... going back years now.
We’re they caught shilling or something, or are you just upset about just normal promotion?
The reaction would have been actually a lot different if someone from the company admitted the mistake and promised it will be changed.
Update: Gabriel Weinberg has promised to change it, linking it here so it does not get buried in the pile of comments: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23711597
You are faulting someone for defending thier own argument. You suggest that people who do not cow and apologize to the mob deserve the anger and retribution the mob has to offer.
People have a right to think differently and express themselves without threats, bullying, or shaming.
The mob does not deserve apologies. The comment above is spot on - we've lost all sense of proportionality.
It is an indication of the modern online mob sickness that they always demand others beg for forgiveness.
What emotional void are mob participants trying to fill with the apologies of others?
you obviously should be allowed to make a mistake and be forgiven for it. that does not mean that i personally would ever forgive any `company` that markets itself as pro-privacy after its been caught gathering data on its users.
i could forgive the people working at the company and would definitely expect future employers not to hold that against them, however.
but if a `company` does something while claiming to stand morally opposed to exactly that.... proves that it doesn't actually care about the topic. it just wants the publicity for marketability, discrediting them entirely for all future communication.
in this particular case, i wouldn't go that far however. they weren't gathering any data on their users if i understood it correctly. it was just a badly implemented feature, which will get changed
I was specifically responding about your outrage how internet 'mobs' demand forgiveness from the people they've supposedly wronged.
The whole comment was just me talking from the perspective of a possible self identified victim and how that person (me) would respond in such a case.
Forgiveness would've to happen for me to trust that party again, which would be a requirement for me becoming a user/paying for the service again. If that possible other party doesn't care about wherever the people they've supposedly wronged use/pay for their services, then there is obviously no need for any interaction after that point.
And as I said before: none of this applied to ddg, as they didn't spy on their user. They implemented a leaky feature, which they've committed to changing.
Once people have gone down the avenue of earnestly reporting private information leakage, the correct answer is to investigate. DDG decided not to do this and instead dismissed the problem completely out of hand and ignored it for almost a year without taking any action.
No one asked for an apology, they asked DDG to admit fault and then to fix the problem. ie "we shouldn't have done that" not "we're sorry we did that."
You keep saying "mob" but these people didn't collect to harass, if you actually read all of the comments the vast majority are people who are (rightly!) concerned about their data privacy advocate built software leaking every visited URL.
Well hold on now. If there's a valid technical argument, and it's not a violation of privacy, why doesn't that make sense?
If people are so distrustful of DDG that they don't believe that argument, why use their browser under any circumstance?
Let's assume DDG is a great and honest company and will collect all the info, but never use it for anything bad. Guess what, they can get still hacked and all the info leaks out.
This is a horrendous breach of trust that they WERE collecting it however, and I'm glad they got caught. It will not be tolerated. They'll have to change this or face a revolt.
If they are confident that this feature has no privacy implications they are right to defend the point, despite what people say or think
People don't run DDG, the company
People can use another search engine if they want
I'll keep using DDG anyway
Where's my pitchfork?
And for the record, collecting your browser history just to display a stupid favicon is the most ridiculous excuse I've heard in a long while. And I am not going to blindly believe them because they said that's what they use it for.
As a privacy-first company, for them to make any decision that is for performance but adds additional privacy risk shows they make the wrong decisions.
They also left this for over a year after being told about it and part of the only reason it was caught was that their browser app is open-source. What about all their closed-source services, like their favicon service their browser apparently relies on.
We shouldn't blindly trust any company and a privacy-first company should be willing to assume we don't trust them and therefore it is up to them to prove everything they do.
I get a few of the responses on their Github page are now non-helpful, but the big point here is that by DuckDuckGo taking this series of actions (implementing the browser like this, ignoring a valid bug report about it, and only reopening the issue after massive push from users) it shows that DuckDuckGo isn't as privacy-focused as I thought, nor many others.
I've been using DuckDuckGo as my sole search provider for several years now, on all my devices, but I'm concerned about what else they may have done in the sake of "performance" over privacy.
Though I agree the the implementation could be better, they should just check the head and the root for the icon and if not found that's that.
But the possibility of something be used for malicious ends does not entail confirmation of it being used that way.
Just because we have knifes in our kitchen does not make us automatically guilty of stabbing people.
I find it easier to believe that this was actually, if misguided, an attempt to solve a problem rather than a nefarious plots to track users across the web.
It's not one mistake, but several. Other then the initial mistake there is also the sloopy reaction and the fact they just closed the issue without bothering to fix it. And this was 1 year(!) ago. Nothing changed in the meanwhile. Now someone pushed it to public and after just some hours they reopen the issue and promise to fix it.
This is the reason why people react loud, because it works. And often it's even the only way that works.
The mistake is rather an area of improvement where they can change something that respect privacy by policy to something that respect privacy by design.
It has zero implications if you trust DDG and good privacy is not based on blind trust. Keep in mind that you also need to trust the government under which DDG acts to not require them to disclose this data, trust the government to not put black boxes in the DDG data center, trust DDG's security apparatus against external state actors, trust any rogue DDG employee to not use this data and so on.
My opinion is that DDG should have never made this choice in the first place, but as far as I am concerned this is at the level of an implementation detail that can be improved, not as if DDG was intentionally using user data in some non-private way.
Anyways, what’s this got to do with Google? “Privacy browser violates basic privacy to do something useless” is actually ridiculous. And the response is even more ridiculous! How does literally every single other browser do it?
I’m disappointed because I put my reputation on the line to recommend DDG to users based on...privacy. But here we see they actually do not hold true to their stated values. And they don’t even seem to care.
Of course they do. They sell users' privacy for advertising dollars.
I am not defending DDG here, as they are clearly in the wrong - but let's not pretend that their error is even close to what Google does.
Because I don’t think they do.
What does DDG 'sell'?
Which is to say, how much have you paid them?
If you're not paying for it, then you are the product, that's the inevitable trade. There is no free lunch.
By using DuckDuckGo you're doing the opposite of ignoring privacy issues in Google products.
And hence the reaction. Why use DDG at all, if they're not safely protecting your private data 100%?
Why use a condom which doesn't protect you 100%?
I don't personally feel a need for a high level of privacy, but I can understand other people who do.
And if they are using DuckDuckGo for that purpose, this issue would seem like a big thing.
If you served a dish for a vegan with 5 % meat in it, you wouldn't justify it by comparing to the amount of meat in non-vegan dishes.
I mean, I agree with the principle of storing as little data as possible but this isn't a huge deal in my eyes.
Didn't see anyone claim that this was on a google-level of bad, more like pointing out that google started out as a small company wanting to "do no evil", but slowly turned into what it is today.
Is it really that weird that people are worried that this might be the first of many small steps down the slippery slope?
> But instead to react professionally and contritely you made it worse to stamp on the shards to make sure no useful piece of trust will survive.
> I've just de-installed the Duckduckgo app and also won't be using their search engine anymore. Trust is lost. Their CEO can put his statement where the sun doesn't shine.
The point is that people are reacting as if it was.
Sadly people simply derive satisfaction from piling on like this. The pop psychology explanation is that it's because people are dissatisfied with their own lives and are lashing out at anything that allows them to vent that underlying frustration. It sounds plausible, but it also sounds like it might be an over-generalisation.
I think it's certainly fair to say - as depressing as it is - that it may be somewhat in our nature to behave in this way, that most or all of us may possess this characteristic to a greater or lesser extent, and that the current political, cultural, economic, and media climate is only serving to amplify that tendency.
Thus, dark patterns emerge. Point is, once you get used to 'that' online-aura, you unwillingly carry it with you wherever you go. Human brain does not have buttons to switch between modes. It's comically easy to get into this mindset and hard to shun it.
Most complaining or being heavily critical about DDG are probably already upset to the point of abandonment with other services and they don't want the same trend to happen to this competitor (DDG). This sort of reaction is, IMHO, due to poor diversity of viable competitors.
In our societal structure, competitive options are the only things that keep power in check. I'm personally not entirely convinced you can have a reasonable amount of diverse competition in our economic system and there are some inherent equilibria that we tend to converge on over and over again in a market space (without corresponding massive social equalibria shifts).
If you do have any sort of faith left in our economic system, then you certainly want competitors like DDG to be different and be successful. Even if you don't have much faith, outside of say stringent regulation, supporting these sort of competitors is really the only practical option we have in the current state of affairs.
Man. You just described 2020.
Anyway, I’m now using the DDG browser, which until today, I didn’t know existed. I think DDG will do the right thing, ultimately.
That just shows how much also the small things matter.
If you only care about "the biggest" or "the worst" you'll never get anywhere...
What about genocide too? Please people, stop with these "but the other bigger unrelated issue should get more visibility".
> Which is why politicians rarely admit mistakes, because it's taken as a sign of weakness, not strength, to admit you were wrong.
Can you point me where DDG admitted they were wrong doing this in their first response? They didn't... they just explained why they did it but completely ignore the greater issue because they consider themselves "good". Just like that politician you may talk about, or Google, or whatever. They are part of that bigger issue you mentions.
This is about DDG.
Luckily that pile of kids in a playground made them realize that mistake, they would have ignored otherwise (like they did on their first respond).
Can you point me where DDG admitted they were wrong doing this? They didn't... they just explained why they did it but completely ignore the greater issue because they consider themselves "good". Just like that politician you may talk about, or Google, or whatever.