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Privacy-Centric Search Engine Scroogle Shuts Down 128

An anonymous reader writes "Daniel Brandt started his 'Scroogle' search engine because he wanted to provide increased privacy to people who searched online through Google. Unfortunately, while Google tolerated this for a while, they began throttling Scroogle queries. This, in combination with extensive DDoS attacks on Brandt's servers, has caused him to take Scroogle offline, along with his other domains. He said, 'I no longer have any domains online. I also took all my domains out of DNS because I want to signal to the criminal element that I have no more servers to trash. This hopefully will ward off further attacks on my previous providers. is gone forever. Even if all my DDoS problems had never started in December, Scroogle was already getting squeezed from Google's throttling, and was already dying. It might have lasted another six months if I hadn't lost seven servers from DDoS, but that's about all.' Internet users who made use of the services will now need to investigate other options."
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Privacy-Centric Search Engine Scroogle Shuts Down

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  • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @01:29AM (#39121205) Homepage
    I'm really saddened by this. I myself had a few tussles with Daniel before (I was very involved when he tried (unfortunately successfully)to get his Wikipedia entry deleted, and I'm a pretty biased source. During that process, he engaged in some pretty nasty behavior, including posting online the personal details of a various Wikipedians, including some who were minors. In the worst act, he gave the personal details of a female admin to Andrew Morrow, an individual who had made hobby of sexually harassing high level female Wikipedians. In that case, Morrow then, using the data from Brandt actually showed up to her place of work. Daniel expressed zero remorse over this and related issues. However, Scroogle was unambiguously a good thing that Daniel was doing. Daniel doesn't play well with others, and in the last year or so, his main feud has been with various elements of Encyclopedia Dramatica along with some of the nastier bits of Anonymous. It shouldn't be too surprising that they really are willing to respond in pretty nasty and destructive ways. The loss of Scroogle represents a real loss of a helpful service. But given that Daniel has now taken down all his domains including Wikipedia Watch which was primarily a list of personal details of various Wikipedians, I do have to see some minimal silver lining. But it isn't sufficient. The internet shouldn't be censored, whether by the government, or by people who have the capability to launch sustained Denial of Service Attacks. There's a real problem here wen someone as stubborn and experienced as Brandt can be brought down by this sort of thing. We worry a lot about censorship from governments through things like ACTA and SOPA, but this sort of thing is functionally as bad. Daniel Brandt's free speech has been essentially curtailed here. Much of that is speech I disagree with, but there's a relevant line attributed to Voltaire about that.
  • DuckDuckGo (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @01:33AM (#39121245)

    Seriously, DuckDuckGo [] has the friendliest privacy policy [] around. They don't track [] you or bubble [] you. They run a TOR [] exit enclave, and if you're already using TOR, you can reach their search engine without exiting the onion by using their hidden service [3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion].

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @01:39AM (#39121275)

    Daniel Brandt is a loony. His first tussle with Google started about 10 years ago when he ran a conspiracy theory site and demanded to know why Google wouldn't show his site in the first page when people searched for famous people names. He attempted to start a movement to force Congress to make Google a public utility service and created google-watch! He created scroogle shortly after, to get back at google (it was nothing but a scraper of google results), and claimed that the back-end code was written in C for maximum speed. He even published the scroogle source code to prove it. I remember reading it then and it was a badly written CGI program with several buffer overflows (As a side note, the guy also seemed to be totally unaware of the overheads of running CGI scripts, whether written in C or any other language, or basics of tuning an Apache server. This explained why his site couldn't handle too many requests in the first place!)

  • by ozmanjusri ( 601766 ) <aussie_bob@[ ] ['hot' in gap]> on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @02:04AM (#39121409) Journal

    duk duo go pulls search queries from bing

    No it doesn't, it's searches are actually quite good.

    From Wikipedia:
    "DuckDuckGo's results are a mashup of many sources, including Yahoo! Search BOSS, Wikipedia, Wolfram Alpha and its own Web crawler, the DuckDuckBot.[2][21][22] It uses data from crowd-sourced sites, especially Wikipedia, to populate "Zero-click Info" boxes, which are grey boxes containing topic summaries and related topics above results.[23] DuckDuckGo also offers the ability to show mostly shopping sites or mostly info (non-shopping) sites via search buttons on its homepage.[24]"

  • Re:DuckDuckGo (Score:5, Informative)

    by hobarrera ( 2008506 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @02:46AM (#39121635) Homepage

    If only the results where competitive with Google's. But they're not, and it's a shame, because I like DDG in principle, but when it comes to results, they're not there yet.

  • Re:DuckDuckGo (Score:3, Informative)

    by dragonquest ( 1003473 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @02:58AM (#39121697)
    StartPage is run by the IxQuick [] guys. They are basically the same meta-search engine with Startpage adding Google to the fray.
  • Re:DuckDuckGo (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rick17JJ ( 744063 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @04:22AM (#39122187)

    Startpage does not record your IP address or track your searches. The Startpage the results are actually generated by Google.

    Startpage supports SSL. So, when I type in, "https" appears in front of their URL instead of "http." That extra "s" tells me that that encryption is being used between my browser and the Startpage servers.

    The sister search engine to Startpage is Ixquick. If I am not mistaken, the Ixquick search results are generated by various search engines other than Google.

    Startpage also offers the option of viewing web sites through their proxy service. When selecting something from their search results, just click on "view by Ixquick proxy." Then, they only see the Startpage IP address, instead of your IP address. However, I have almost never actually bothered to use the proxy feature.

    Privacy advocate Katherine Albrecht is the enthusiastic spokeswoman for Startpage. []

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