Jan 25th 2018 by iizn • 33 Questions • 36 Points
Hi, today is the 11th annual Data Privacy Day! 2018 can be the year where we stand up to Big Tech and start to take back our privacy.
I'm the Founder & CEO of DuckDuckGo, the Internet privacy company that empowers you to seamlessly take control of your personal information online, without any tradeoffs.
For the past ten years we've been operating a private alternative to Google search, with over 16 Billion private searches served. We just announced a new mobile app and browser extension that extends our privacy protection beyond search to wherever you go on the Internet, by blocking trackers, upgrading your encryption, and more.
I'm here today with some other DuckDuckGo team members who will help me take as many of your privacy questions as possible!
For more on me personally, check out ye.gg.
Edit: thank you for all the questions! I'm headed to bed now :). Happy Data Privacy Day (and night)!
Have you seen the movie The Founder, and if so, did you like it?
Are there aspects of hyper capitalism that you think are best understood via cartoons? Or really hit home through a visual medium? Thanks!
For fucks sake. $20K is a big fuck you. I'm sorry you had to deal with that.
Have you still been able to lead a successful life due to these bs charges on your record?
What do you think caused your hypertension? I'm pretty ignorant to what causes hypertension. Eating habits? Life habits? Drug usage? Smoking? Drinking? Super stressful job? Certain life experiences? At any rate, get well, dude! Glad you caught it when you did.
I work in Physical Therapy, and as a caregiver, I was wondering if you could give some tips to caregivers as to how you would like to be treated? Any good or bad examples I could learn from?
I did one of my inservices on MG while going through school, but did not learn about your type until I read your AMA today. Thanks so much for sharing so we can all learn!
Are there aspects of hyper capitalism that you think are best understood via cartoons? Or really hit home through a visual medium? Thanks!
As someone that only recently began using more secure internet practices is there anything that I can do about the profile that Google etc have already build on me?
I have never seen it, however it looks interesting! I’ll watch it tonight and get back with you. :) thank you for letting me know about this
It is an open question. I'm in pretty good shape all things considered. 6'1" 190 pounds, low LDL cholesterol. I drank but not heavily really. No drugs, no really stressful job.
When I was in the hospital, both the kidney and heart doctors were very confused about what was going on. I guess there are around seven causes of malignant hypertension and I don't have any of them. I, like an idiot, suggested genetics but they immediately were like "yea that is part of it but why you and not your sister" who has healthy blood pressure.
My cardiologist is sort of a character. During the first time he met me, he asked me if I had ordered vodka from Ukraine that was possibly watered down with antifreeze. That is how confused they are with why I developed this crazy blood pressure.
With patience. MG is a snow flake disease so we are all so so different but we are all trying. I once had a PT tell me she didn't think I could have MG cause of the schedule I take my meds on and cause I don't look sick........... I won't go see a PT again.. it hurts when people assume you are faking it.... I know I don't look physically ill but I am very very sick. Last night I had to be carried to my car to go home from an event because my legs did not work. It was humiliating. ( And why I decided to do this AMA). We just want to be normal and treated as such.
I work closely with kids in mental health treatment centers that come off as being similar to detention centers.
What could staff have done to help your stay there?
I saw that there was a lot of abuse but were there staff members that helped you at all?
By the looks of your skin yes, it almost looks like the guy who was poisoned in Russia. I guess that’s the kidneys. I hope you get better.
How do you guys make money? I did a quick scan of the web site and only saw donations mentioned. I love your product and it is the default search for all my browsers.
We make .39 per minute we finish above the standard. We also had people come from the road crew that were confused about our process. We don't work a set schedule, we just leave whenever we finish our minutes. Today we did 10:50, it usually depends on volume, call-ins, PTOs, dispatch times, and all kinds of things. Our minutes usually vary between 500(8 1/2 hours) or the max of 700(11 hours 40 minutes)
Fuck that judge.
What movie have you watched more times then any other ?
What did you eat when you got out the second time ? first meal out I guess I mean.
I wish you the best of luck in your treatment and recovery. Has your doctor discussed CAPD (Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis) with you? CAPD was a game-changer for my father in the early '80s. He went from having to go back and forth to the dialysis center, sometimes in distress due to built-up electrolytes, to feeling good nearly all the time and feeling like he was in control of his own treatment. He sadly received an infection due to a hospital visit resulting from another condition, and the nurse staff were not prepared to properly observe his CAPD protocol. But this was back when CAPD was new -- hopefully you can benefit from it and nurse staffs are more aware.
Follow-up : what did you order ? I have never had a quarter pounder from Mcdonalds, or a mcrib.
Mcdonalds make little baby jesus happy. Sitting there in his manger holding a happy meal.
Would you ever cooperate with government bodies to create a backdoor to any of your programs?
Nope! US. There are quite a few around the country.
so does DDG have a Government Privacy or other Warrant Canary?
45 hours is just a rough average. Some are 40, some 60+.
40 hours = $40,560 $250 a week of performance pay = $13,000 7.5 hours a week of overtime = $11,407
Add that all together and its just $3 short of $65,000. Again, these are just estimates based on averages.
So accurate. I've put my story out there before once or twice locally...
People here wouldn't believe the amount of "It was your own fault" or "It's not the judge's fault".
For some reason, the corruption is not only ignored but accepted locally.
That is the mistake I made -- I don't really know. I hadn't been to the doctor for 7-8 years probably before this happened. It was never really a problem in college or high school. Unclear when the hypertension developed or exactly how high it was.
That's okay. It's all new. Feel free to reach out if I can help.
Warrant canaries are problematic for a number of reasons, but in our case it is irrelevant because we do not store any data so there is nothing to hand over. Case in point, for the ten years we've been around, we haven't received any warrants.
Are the french fries created in your factory? I assume the factory is where the fries are initially cut, fried, frozen, and bagged up for shipment to the restaurants. Russet potatoes?
How did your first "conviction" happen? The one where you got sent away for six months - did you have a trial, did you plead guilty?
Did your mom try to get a lawyer when you were incarcerated for six months?
And what about your second offense? Same questions.
I understand there was a corrupt system (no defense attorneys? That is really messed up), but I'm familiar with the juvenile justice system where I live and you'd have gotten next to nothing for those offenses where I am.
There was no real trial. I stood there with my mom in front of the judge. No defense attorney. My mom cried. She said she wanted me to get help with my issues at home but didn't want me taken away. The judge didn't care and sent me away. My mom called lawyers and elected officials. Everyone she could for 6 months. One day out of the blue I was told to pack my things up because I was getting out.
The second time, it was basically the same. No defense attorney. Me and the judge. The juvenile court room was much different than any other court room. The judge and the other workers there all seemed like buddies. There was no feeling of fair justice. No telling your side. Just the judge putting you away. Scary to a kid, and even scarier to me as an adult knowing that it happened that way.
I think it happens a lot. What can I say? I deffo paid the price for it.
also, I didn't even think I was going to die when I first went to the doctor and my blood oxygen was 81. I just thought I had some acid reflux.
what are some of the best practices used in your warehouse? What is best way to deal with incompetent supervisor in your opinion?
$20k doesn't make up for your years lost, and that's obviously understandable. Have you ever thought about what would help the past injustice sting less? For example, an apology from the judge, or new laws to prevent this from happening again?
What’s the extent DuckDuckGo relies on Amazon’s AWS?
Are you concerned this reliance/relationship might create a vulnerability (or back door) for the US government to unscrupulously monitor searches, especially for non-stateside users?
Safety is always first. Communication, cooperation and integrity as well. As far as an incompetent supervisor goes, your best bet is working it up the chain or calling corporate if it’s actually legitimate
Time helped a lot.
As I've said in other answers, the places weren't all bad. Aside from the obvious negative aspects, I did learn a few things and the experience did make me grow into the person I am today. Better or worse.
I don't want to hear from the judge, but I suppose an apology would help. I think I'd rather just let him know that I no longer blame him and explain what I was put through.
so the very first time i had dialysis I asked this. She said that it makes you throw up. However, I have gone to dialysis once while hungover (the monday after new years) and I guess it kind of helped. You get some iv fluids when the process is happening so I imagine that was most of it. Also, I guess any residual junk in blood from drinking would get filtered out.
However, the big thing is drugs. I've had like 5-6 warnings about drugs. Don't put drugs into my chest tubes (fucking lol at the prospect of doing that) but also they told me that if you are high on something or are an active drug user for some drugs, dialysis can intensify the withdrawal effects of some drugs. I guess. I don't know much about the drug part.
Yes, it’s all mainly physical, although a big deal of it is being able to deal with the mental strain. Doing that amount of work over and over again can be straining on anyone, regardless of physical fitness. You have to just be ready to work. Long hours, concrete floors, working in various environments, and a fast paced environment are a few things you will deal with.
I don't remember asking any other kids what they did until I was in the last place I was in. It was a really strict place with intense therapy groups and pretty bad physical punishment for the kids. (Staff broke a kids arm and gave another rug burn from head to toe for an escape attempt.)
In a Balanced And Restorative Justice group one day, we went around and said what we were there for. Kids were saying drugs, theft, robbery... The kid before me says he forgot his gun at someone's house so he went to go get it and brought his other gun, and when he got pulled over by the cops he forgot a third gun was under his seat so he was arrested for having two of his three guns on him.
I said "I told my teacher my dad would fire her..." Lol.
lol no not really. its pretty annoying and has put a pause on a lot of the stuff I had going on. But, there is nothing I can do so there is no reason to focus on those parts.
How would you rate your pain on a 1-10 scale, and how much does it vary day by day?
I've been using DDG for a long time, but Google's search results are often still better. No dead links and search results based on my context (e.g. software development) - how will Search quality be improved in the future?
I have lupus as well so physical pain tends to be from that. MG itself does not cause physical pain in most cases. Emotional pain varies from day to day.
Thank you for being a long-term user! We really appreciate it. We've been working hard on making our results better, and really think they have massively improved over the past years to the extent where they are on par for most users. Of course, there are always areas where we can improve, and really look at and welcome all feedback. There is a feedback box on the search results page that is the best way to communicate with the team.
Be rest assured, however, that we are constantly looking to improve search quality.
Do you struggle with context-based results because no data is stored?
Not generally since most of the time intent is pretty clear from the search terms. In cases of ambiguity it is best to add another search term, and that usually clears it up.
Did you get into any fights inside?
Any time you genuinely feared for your safety? Did you get bullied or picked on?
Did the people inside split along racial lines like they do in prison?
All of google tracking also helps give you better search results. So you can't expect it to be AS good as google. You are trading privacy for convenience.
I was bullied at times. Other times I was the bully. I got into a few fights.
In the place where fighting and bullying did occur, there wasn't much staff intervention and there were definitely groups and a sort of hierarchy.
There was some racial tension. At the one place, I was the only white kid and the only kid not from a big city with bad crimes, which felt a little intimidating, but after a while we all got along great.
That may appear at first blush to be a good thing, but when most people say they want personalization in a search context they actually want localization. They want local weather and restaurants, which can actually be provided without tracking, like we do at DuckDuckGo. That’s because approximate location info is automatically embedded by your computer in the search request, which we can use to serve you local results and immediately throw away without tracking you.
On the other hand, more personalization has serious downsides. You expect unbiased results, but that’s not what you get with personalization. You get results tailored to what they think you’re likely to click on, based on the data profile they’ve built on you over time. These personalized results are dangerous because to show you results they think you’ll click on, they must filter results they think you’ll skip. This is commonly referred to as the Filter Bubble.
So, if you have political leanings one way or another, you’re more likely to get results you already agree with, and less likely to ever see opposing viewpoints. In the aggregate this leads to increased echo chambers that are significantly contributing to our increasingly polarized society.
This Filter Bubble is especially pernicious in a search context because you have the expectation that you’re seeing what others are seeing, that you’re seeing the “results.” On DuckDuckGo, we are committed to not putting you in the Filter Bubble. We don’t even force people into a local country index unless they explicitly opt-in.
Additionally, most intent can really be inferred from the query, and in an ambiguous situation it is as easy as adding another word.
What goes through your mind, at 15, when you realize you're going to jail for two years? Was anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts a big factor? How did you adjust and calm the sudden impact of this?
I just wanted to say thanks. I just checked and I bookmarked DDG on April 3, 2009, so I've been using it at least since then.
Also, sometimes I will link to a DDG search result here on reddit (for example, I love /r/whatisthisthing) and sometimes I get a comment like "Oh, DuckDuckGo? You're one of those types huh? How's that tinfoil hat fit you?"
Does it bother you as much as it bothers me that some people think taking reasonable steps to protect your privacy automatically makes you some kind of whack-job, terrorist, pedophile, or worse? Because it bothers me a lot.
I use that Snowden quote sometimes, "Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say." It doesn't seem to help much against people who are determined to believe otherwise.
Well, they don't tell you how long. In fact, you never know how long it will be. At any point. There was no "finish line".
The places had systems of treatment and let you out when you were ready.
It sucked at first. Then it still sucked but you got used to how things were. Then it still sucked, but you dealt with it and it became normal.
Yes, that does bother me though thankfully this view is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. We've been doing research and have found privacy has really become a mainstream concern and growing fast. This past year has really pushed it over the edge with nearly daily headlines of data breaches, reports of invasive ad targeting, election meddling, etc.
Do you have any power to also implicate the people that are responsible for "KARS 4 KIDS"? Specifically the people who created the advertising jingle.
What made you relate privacy with ducks?
As you might have guessed, they are not related at all :).
I actually came up with the name DuckDuckGo before envisioning a search engine. It popped into my head one day on a walk with my wife, and I liked the name so much that I decided to use it for whatever I worked on next, which ended up being a search engine.
My question is this, what do you think about the US prison system?
Edit: my fist comment was deleted, here's what it said. In the US private prison industry, the corporations have contracts with the government, the corporation gets a certain amount of money per prisoner, but if the government doesn't keep the prison full enough, usually like +90%, the corporation FINES the government millions.
That's a major part of why we have a small portion of the world's overall people, but 25% of the world's prisoners.
We are not free. This coutry sucks.
How can a general young US citizen keep privacy today without being called into suspicion by means of "If you have nothing to hide then why not show what's inside?"
I've tried to understand a way to verbalize why that argument is a bad idea, however, I just don't have the words.
Also, any recommendations for a less "I'm watching you" PRISM/Echelon type experience? I know it's hard today but if there is a way to keep things like UI but allow for privacy, that would be great : )
As a juvenile, I was in places that generally focused on rehabilitation and therapy. They all varied in how they did it, with some more physical and some more emotional, but they still focused on fixing issues and making you a better person.
I did get into trouble as an adult and was very let down that it was literally just a time out with no steps towards corrections, despite being a "correctional facility".
I feel like jails and prisons should focus much more on the individual inmates and work to recover them.
Hi! Yes, the good news is that privacy is now mainstream and you needn't feel ostracized for wanting to reasonably protect your privacy. People recognize it is a fundamental right and you don't need to prove the necessity of fundamental rights to anyone. Also, it's a simple answer to say to people everyone wants to keep certain things private, and you can easily illustrate that by asking people to let you make all their email, texts, searches, financial information, medial information, etc. public. No one wants that.
In terms of having a more seamless private experience, that's exactly why we launched our new app and extension - check it out as it seems that is what you're looking for.
If I were to search for "isis bomb making videos" from my home IP with no VPN using duckduckgo, should I still expect a knock on the door? This is hypothetical, but I'm serious about the question.
No, you should not expect a knock at the door. We've been around for about 10 years and have heard about no such knocks.
The connection between you and us is encrypted, so no one in between you and us can see your search terms. Then, we don't store your IP at all, so there will be no record of it after your search.
Note, though, a lot of sites off the search engine could be monitored, and if you want to browse completely anonymously, Tor is a good idea.
How do we know that you're not a secret Google project that reports everything to Google?
If we're a secret Google project, no one's told me about it :).
Also, I would hope it would be easier to get duck.com not to point at Google search and confuse people, easier to get us as a default search option into Chrome (like we are for Safari and Firefox), and easier to change the default search engine on the Android search widget, which remains impossible.
What is your goal for this year? What is DuckDuckGo's endgame?
Our goal this year was kicked off last week and is to help people more easily protect their privacy as they search and browse the web, no matter where they go on the Internet. In particular, we've made a new app and extension with all the privacy essentials in one seamless package: tracker blocking, upgraded encryption, private search, and more. It's available on all major platforms and the idea is on any device you should be able to look up DuckDuckGo and be easily protected with one download.
What thing on the web is something everyone considers “Safe” but is not actually safe?
Oh man, these are large pet peeves of mine :)
I'll give you two:
So-called incognito mode doesn't do what most people think in that “Incognito” mode doesn't really make you incognito! It’s an extremely misleading name and in my opinion should be changed. All it does is delete your local browsing history after your session on your device, but does nothing from stopping any website you visit from tracking you via your IP address and other tracking mechanisms like browser fingerprinting. We did a study showing how much people misunderstand private browsing modes.
Browser "do not track" settings. You'd think if you turned on do not track, you might not be tracked? Not so. It is a voluntary standard and hardly any site does anything to adhere to it, including pretty much all of Big Tech. In my opinion it should be completely removed from browsers until it has mandatory compliance with regulatory teeth behind it.
On Windows, Firefox, Brave, and Vivaldi are all good choices. I personally use macOS though.
Would it be possible to publicly share a hypothetical response to a secret government warrant? Like a made-up user with made-up searches and show us exactly what would be handed over to the government? I remember Open Whisper Systems did that for a Signal user and it was really cool to see.
We really have nothing to hand over to the government since, unlike say messaging or email, we don't need to collect or share any personal information at all. That's one great thing about web search, that all searches can be independent and so you don't need to save anything about the person searching after the search.
on the DDG Answers API page there's a line
For the same reason, we cannot allow framing our results without our branding.
What does "framing" mean here? (i.e., what sort of things are not allowed?)
Also is there any hope that we might have a full search API in the future?
Thank you for providing such an excellent service.
You're very welcome.
What that means is to make an iframe of duckduckgo.com and make it appear as if it is another search engine, i.e. white-label DuckDuckGo. Does that make sense?
A full search API is not on our roadmap right now.
Have you always been a privacy advocate or events you can mention made you notice the importance of not letting your data public for anyone collect it?
I've always been into personal freedom, and I believe having privacy is a fundamental constituent of being free. I came across the more nuanced issues with privacy and the Internet in grad school; I went to the Technology Policy Program at MIT.
With search privacy in particular, I hadn't considered the full implications until actually seeing search logs and seeing how truly private they are. People ask their search engine their most intimate questions, such as medical, financial, and political. Those should be private, and studies have shown that people actually curb their searches once they realize they aren't totally private on other search engines.
How do you see yourselves growing over the next few years?
Our vision is to raise the standard of trust online. That’s what we hope to do long-term, and we are always open to and thinking about ways to further execute on this vision.
Our current plans on doing so include:
- Continuing to provide a solid private alternative to Google search. Google has more data on people than any big tech company by far, and search data is arguably the most personal, as people search for their most intimate financial, health, and personal problems.
- We just expanded beyond our roots in search, with updated mobile apps and browser extensions that protect you beyond search, wherever you happen to go on the Internet. See our announcement for more details.
- Last year we kicked off a major focus on general privacy education, on our blog, newsletter, and social media.
- We continue to make substantial donations to like-minded organizations.
- We plan to continue doing our own primary privacy research and advocacy where we see we can make a significant impact.
DuckMail has crossed our minds :), though no immediate plans.
Why is the US so far behind Europe on data privacy? While they're implementing GDPR, we're rolling rules that allow ISP tracking. Is it a cultural or political thing?
It's political. Culturally, the US is similar on privacy and in fact protecting privacy has truly become mainstream. I believe because the will of the people is there, it is only a matter of time until we follow suit.
Google has become a verb to search for things. How could you make DuckDuckGo into a verb?
Started using your search engine a couple of months ago. I hated that Google would track my location in maps and suggest Home or Work without me telling it to store those addresses against my name.
Now that Ive turned off the setting to monitor places I often visit, whenever I go Home or to Work, it asks me if I want to turn the setting back on. Only those two places. Bastards.
Hah, thanks for being a DuckDuckGo user! "Duck it," "DuckDuckGo it", "DDGd it" could be a thing :), but sadly I don't think we're going to get rid of Google as verb -- it's too ingrained at this point to the extent it is generic like Kleenex.
Have you ever been contacted by bigger data-tracking services? Google or Facebook for example?
It depends what you mean by contacted. We've spoken to a lot of different companies in one way or another.
Often these days there are a lot of bots and astro surf.
This might be a little out of your usual wheel house, but do you know any ways that the average internet dweller like my self can combat these?
I suggest disengaging with Facebook altogether. That may sound extreme, but I've been happily Facebook-free for many years, and studies are slowly showing this has health benefits.
On Twitter and other social media you can try to be discerning about who you follow.