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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Tech News > China blocks privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo

China blocks privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo
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MacNN Staff
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Sep 22, 2014, 01:22 PM
The privacy-centric search engine DuckDuckGo is unable to be used in China. Selling itself as a service which does not collect personal information about its users, DuckDuckGo has been inaccessible in the country since earlier this month, and though there is no official explanation from any party, it is believed to be an act of censorship by the Chinese government.

Founder and CEO Gabriel Weinberg confirmed to Tech In Asia that the team behind the service has noticed the block. GreatFire, a service which analyzes when a website is inaccessible behind the so-called "Great Firewall," shows it as unavailable regularly since the 3rd of September. Weinberg was unable to give a specific date for when DuckDuckGo received the block, but noted it was available a "few weeks" ago.

While other countries have made various censorship efforts online, China's activities have become the most well known. Since the government routinely blocks sites hosted from abroad, many search engines offer their own in-country servers, complete with the blocking of results requested by the country's censors. While local versions of Bing and Yahoo are available, as well as the home-grown Baidu, Google has since been blocked after disabling its servers in the country. DuckDuckGo's privacy policy directly works against China's need to control information, therefore making it a ripe target for censorship.

Recently, DuckDuckGo became a default search option within Safari 7.1 and iOS 8, though the block makes the service unusable for devices in China.
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Sep 22, 2014, 01:39 PM
Peking duck soup?
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Sep 22, 2014, 01:57 PM
China may be blocking any prominent foreign site that requires HTTPS. Gotta monitor everyone for dangerous ideas.

The MPAA and NSA should consider allying with China. Different motivations, but they all want to monitor all traffic.
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Sep 22, 2014, 02:34 PM
Great reason for using it, which I am now doing. If the Chinese government doesn't like it, it must be doing something right to protect user's from government spying.
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Sep 22, 2014, 02:50 PM
Agreed! Love the duck! There are a few Google specific things that I had come to rely on that I am now missing but well worth developing a few new search habits, IMHO.
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Sep 22, 2014, 04:38 PM
I was about to say exactly the same thing: If China is blocking it, they must be doing something right, so I guess I made the right choice.

I still find myself having to resort to Google with more difficult queries (there are unquestionably times when DuckDuckGo will give no results or nothing useful, while Google will give me what I'm looking for), but it's good enough for the majority of my general purpose searches. Image and video search is getting pretty usable, too.
Charles Martin
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Sep 23, 2014, 02:46 AM
If Google Image Search wasn't the best of the image engines, I think I could give up Google altogether (apart from perhaps the occasional YouTube video).
Charles Martin
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