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Anonymous search engine DuckDuckGo sees surge in wake of Prism scandal

Internet users have been flocking to anonymous search engine DuckDuckGo as distrust of traditional options like Google and Bing mounts following the revelations of sweeping US data surveillance.

The search engine, which promises complete anonymity, has seen an increase of 33 per cent in users since the Prism scandal erupted, according to its founder and CEO Gabriel Weinberg.

“We always knew people didn't want to be tracked, but what hadn't happened was reporting on the private alternatives and so it's no surprise that people are making a choice to switch to things that that will give them great results and also have real privacy,” Weinberg told CNBC.

Unlike Google, which stores searches and other data for a period of time, DuckDuckGo pledges not to keep any of this and won't send search information to other websites, such as advertisers.

Its argument previously focused on smaller scale privacy invasions, like rogue Google engineer David Barksdale, but now Prism has created a major example of why people should be more concerned about tracking.

“We had zero inquiries and the reason for that is because we don't store any data,” Weinberg said, referring to security requests made to Google and others. “So if they come to us — which they know because it's in our privacy policy — we have nothing to hand over, it's all anonymous data.”