Post-PRISM, traffic soars for websites offering privacy

Since revelations that the National Security Agency is tapping into the servers of Internet giants, including Google and Apple, traffic to DuckDuckGo has risen 55 percent.

“What generally happens with our traffic is Monday is our biggest day and then it falls down significantly each day,” said founder Gabriel Weinberg.

“Last week, every day of the week broke a record all the way through Friday. […] Today looks like the highest yet so far.”

News of government spying on Americans’ Internet history and phone records has given a boost to sites like DuckDuckGo that promise to protect users’ privacy.

The Paoli, Pa.-based DuckDuckGo doesn’t offer absolute security, but the service itself doesn’t track any user’s personal information or search history. That means it can’t deliver up that information to the government upon request.

“People are really seeking out privacy alternatives,” Weinberg said.

Google processes about a billion searches daily, while DuckDuckGo is still only up to about 2.5 million a day. It’s one of the Philadelphia area’s better-known startups. Weinberg says others in the field of privacy protection generally are seeing a similar rise in traffic.

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