DuckDuckGo is a search engine used by 1% of Americans in the U.S., it is the fourth largest one. They have a policy of protecting users' privacy and not keeping records of their usage history. In an interview, Gabriel Weinberg, CEO of DuckDuckGo, criticizes Google and Facebook for their monopoly on personal information and other aspects of the modern Internet.
DuckDuckGo CEO Gabe Weinberg talks “do not track” legislation on Kara Swisher podcast Recode Decode - Vox
According to Weinberg, there are now countless "tracking" on the Internet that continue to collect data about users' privacy. Among them, "search" is the most personal information that is directly related to one's desires and that one does not want others to know. However, Google continues to collect users' search history.
He criticizes not only the fact that "searched words" are tied to personal secrets, but also the fact that for revenue, they serve ads that have nothing to do with the searched words. DuckDuckGo, for example, displays car ads when you type in "Car" and earns revenue from those ads. This method is different from "behavioral targeting ads," which are ads that are automatically displayed based on searched words and personal information obtained by tracking the user.
On the other hand, Google's search is based on the user's information, which influences the search results. A simple example he gave to show this is the "magic word", If you search with that word and then immediately search with another word, the results will change. During the election of President Obama's first term, "Obama" was the magic word, and if you searched for "Obama" and then "gun control," the results would include three additional search results that would not show up if you did not have a search history for "Obama. This is not a case of cooperation or interference with the Obama campaign, but simply an algorithmic problem due to the high number of searches for "Obama", but it is proof that Google can distort search results based on users' personal information.
Because past search history, age, gender, nationality, and region of residence can all distort search results, Weinberg says, "If you and I search Google for the same word, we'll get different results," Hence, they have a problem with "filter bubbles" that only show "more preferred search results" based on the user's information, resulting in making it harder for some users to access certain search results. For example, if the search results change depending on where you live, the search results for "election candidates" or "the focus of this election" will also change depending on where you live, which may affect the election results. "This could distort democracy and harm society," stated Weinberg.
As for why Google is doing this, Weinberg speculates that "they're doing it because they can," and that they continue to do so because there are no regulations in the U.S. regarding this type of information collected. On the contrary, in the EU, not only does the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) already exist, but a draft amendment to the Copyright Directive has been approved by the Parliament and will be introduced in 2021.
In the U.S., the CCPA, a personal information protection law, will be enacted in California in 2020 to regulate the collection of information.
However, according to Weinberg, there has been a lot of corporate lobbying against this type of regulation in the U.S., and there is no indication that privacy laws like the CCPA will be enforced across the country.
Weinberg strongly recommends turning on "Do Not Track" in Firefox and Chrome as a personal privacy initiative that individuals can take, and he hopes that "Do Not Track" will be turned on by default in each browser.
The interview was also on the topic of Facebook. Weinberg said that ads about politics on Facebook should be made illegal. He also commented on the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) decision to fine Facebook up to $5 billion for privacy violations, "You're missing one zero,"