With all the controversy surrounding the National Security Agency’s PRISM program, millions of web users are on the hunt for alternative options. This call for better privacy policies and the assurance of security is making way for certain start-ups to rise from obscurity.

PRISM

The NSA developed the PRISM program as a way to keep tabs on the massive amounts of information generated by web use every day.  The controversy has arisen from accusations implicating that major tech companies (Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple are all on the list) have given the NSA open access to all of their data, and by doing so have compromised the security and privacy rights of their users.

Several of the tech companies have explicitly denied giving open access, but have indicated that they do comply with specific requests for information and usage on targeted accounts.

Enter DuckDuckGo

Founded by Gabriel Weinberg in February 2008, this young start up has been making waves over the last couple of weeks.  The website states that users are able to, “use [DuckDuckGo.com] to get way more instant answers, way less spam and real privacy.”

It is this privacy policy that has caused their daily site traffic to jump from 1.73 million on 5/15 to close to 2.4 million Sunday the 16th. The company boldly declares that they do not collect or share personal information.

Because the company does not track your activity on the site, it also means that, unlike Google, they will not filter your results based on your search and click history. This allows you access to all the information on any given topic, not just the ones Google thinks you would agree with.

Weinberg, the company’s CEO, states that they do collect minor information that allow them to improve the search and result function of the website as well as fix things like spelling mistakes.  Some fans of the site are saying that this DuckDuckGo.com hearkens back to the early days of Google, and others are heralding them as the next big threat to the Google empire.

Pot of Gold?

So the question remains. Are sites like  DuckDuckGo.com the fabled pot of gold at the end of the PRISM rainbow? Maybe.

And then again, maybe not. While some of the ‘improvements’ to Google’s search capabilities could be called into question as such, their site still leads the pack in the SEO industry.

Google Analytics and the Google search engine in general far outstrip DuckDuckGo.com with well over a billion clicks per day. Businesses will continue to want to track and measure their website traffic so, while this site may put individual users at ease, is it the best answer to the privacy issue?

Photo Credit: Darwin Bellpicsishouldsharedavidyuweb via photopin cc

Jamie Bates