241: Jill's Treasure Hunt & Best Search Engines for Privacy


Answers to VE64RD’s question this week. Have more thoughts? See post below:

I can’t tell if @MichaelTunnell is sitting or standing.

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Another good episode. I’ll have to have a play with Searx.

Another search alternative that I keep hoping will one day have a new wave of excitement and development around it is Yacy. I love the decentralised nature of it but it’s search results and interface need work.

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It’s a stool so both at the same time =)

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It may be worth noting that Duck Duck Go’s Bang system doesn’t seem to anonymize your search. From their Duck Duck Go’s page explaining “bangs”:

Remember, though, because your search is actually taking place on that other site, you are subject to that site’s policies, including its data collection practices.


Good to know, I guess that part isn’t proxied.

Nice catch

Thanks, everyone, for another excellent episode. @jill_linuxgirl 's tour of her hardware treasures is always a treat, with no exception this time! Love the little laptop. I remember them from years ago. I imagine funding for the project ran out, which is a real pity.

Ohmygit.org sounds very handy indeed. I plan to play it :slight_smile:

Favourite joke of the week: Noah rescuing someone who’s stuck in vim :wink:


Been playing with OhMyGit. It’s pretty decent, except for there are no ‘help’ options. And the instructions are occasionally very vague. There’s a section I’m stuck on, and can’t figure out. The concept makes sense, but I can’t figure out how to actually pass the section. Which is more than a little frustrating.

It’s definitely worth playing with though. If you can figure out how to get past ‘rebasing’, let me know…

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On the matter of privacy search engines. I also use duckduckgo most of the time. The fact that all we have is their word that they’re respecting our privacy makes me nervous though. It’s not Open Source or encrypted in such a way we can verify what they do with our data. That’s not good enough. Considering what we know about the NSA it seems possible that even if duckduckgo wanted to keep their word the government might have given them secret orders. I’m hoping to use something better in the future. I’ve played with Searx a bit and should probably explore it more.

edit: I think of duckduckgo as the Apple of search engines. They provide an unverifiable promise of privacy.

edit 2: Privacy aside. The authority over search results is a powerful thing.


I think the reason we don’t have a superior example to point to is because making one is extremely hard.

That isn’t to say duckduckgo wouldn’t benefit from having things like warrant canaries and other improvements but creation of a 100% open infrastructure is quite a task in a climate that’s short on the kind of extreme talent it takes to pull something like that off. Something like Etherium or a derivative could do that kind of open computation but the devil’s in the details especially if it needs to be free for all searches.