Europe-based StartPage, a search engine that focuses on user privacy has canceled its partnership with Yahoo. In an announcement made on Monday, StartPage said it will be dropping Yahoo’s aggregate search results from its metasearch platform Ixquick.eu by the end of the month.
Commenting on the recent news, StartPage CEO Robert Beens said: “We are not the only ones disturbed by Yahoo’s lack of openness about major privacy violations. Even though Ixquick.eu can’t be affected by Yahoo’s government ties because of our strict privacy protections and our location outside US jurisdiction, we no longer feel comfortable partnering with them.”
He added, “We can no longer have confidence in them.” Beens expects that while his company is the first to part ways with Yahoo, others will likely follow suit.
In September, Yahoo admitted to a 2014 breach wherein the account details of 500 million users, which included email addresses, passwords, and birthdates had been leaked.
Earlier this month, Yahoo was confronted for secretly helping the U.S. government to install a program on its servers to scan emails of users’ in order to find out if they were accused of wrongdoing or not.
While Yahoo is in the midst of a $4.83 billion sale to Verizon, the wireless company seems to be having second thoughts about going through with the transaction.
The digital rights group Fight for the Future has now launched a “Dump Yahoo” campaign advising users to delete their Yahoo accounts.
“Yahoo has made it easy to walk away,” said Beens. “Most of our users have already switched to our flagship private search engine StartPage.com for superior search results.”
Beens said StartPage has become so popular because it delivers the best of two worlds: Google search results, and StartPage’s own privacy safeguards.
“StartPage doesn’t collect any personal data, like IP addresses, and doesn’t pass on any personal data to third parties, including Google,” Beens said. “This way users get Web results from the most popular search engine with protection from the world’s most private search engine.”
StartPage, which is located in the Netherlands, is another reason for its popularity. The search engine is not subject to U.S. laws like the Patriot Act, and cannot be forced to obey the U.S. dragnet surveillance programs, like PRISM.
“The Yahoo scandal illustrates why being based outside US jurisdiction is so important to our customers,” said Beens. “People who care about privacy know that it’s very hard to trust U.S. Internet companies with their data because the government can force them to spy on customers.”
The organization notes on its website that it received support from the Ford Foundation and Knight Foundation. It also lists DuckDuckGo, a StartPage rival, as a $25,000-or-more funder.
“Listed as a funder of $10,000 or more is Yelp, with whom Yahoo entered a partnership in 2014 to include the review site’s listings and reviews into Yahoo search results,” per the report.
Users of Yahoo’s major search partners such as Firefox and DuckDuckGo have already started showing their displeasure. Recently, DuckDuckGo removed mentions to its partnership with Yahoo.