| 12.6°C Belfast

StartPage to drop Yahoo from search results


The email scans reportedly selected messages that contained a string of unknown characters (AP)

The email scans reportedly selected messages that contained a string of unknown characters (AP)

The email scans reportedly selected messages that contained a string of unknown characters (AP)

StartPage.com has informed Yahoo that it will drop Yahoo search results from its metasearch platform Ixquick.eu by the end of the month.

CEO Robert Beens predicts that while his company is the first to part ways with Yahoo, others will likely follow.

Mr Beens said: "We are not the only ones disturbed by Yahoo’s lack of openness about major privacy violations,” said Beens, commenting on recent news.

"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."

It wasn’t until late this past August that Yahoo admitted to a 2014 breach in which email addresses, passwords, and birthdates for over 500 million users were stolen.

Then in early October, Yahoo was confronted for secretly aiding the US government in spying on its users’ email, whether those users were accused of wrongdoing or not. The digital rights group Fight for the Future has now launched a “Dump Yahoo” campaign urging users to delete their Yahoo accounts.

Read more

Weekly Business Digest

Margaret Canning’s selection of the must-read business stories straight to your inbox every Tuesday morning

This field is required

"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.com 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."

Another reason for StartPage’s popularity is its location in the Netherlands. The search engine is not subject to US laws like the Patriot Act, and cannot be forced to comply with US 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 US Internet companies with their data because the government can force them to spy on customers."

There has already been discontent among users of Yahoo’s major search partners DuckDuckGo and Firefox, and recently DuckDuckGo removed references to its partnership with Yahoo.

A spokesperson for Yahoo said: "Yahoo does not have a partnership with StartPage and we have never had a formal relationship with the company."

However in response Liz McIntyre, spokesperson for StartPage and Ixquick private search engines, told the Belfast Telegraph: "We DID have a signed contract with Yahoo to display search results at our metasearch sister search engine at http://www.ixquick.eu until we cancelled it. Technically, the contract was signed by Surfboard Holding BV (Surfboard Holding BV owns StartPage and Ixquick.) We cancelled it.

Ms McIntyre added: "I'm sure Yahoo is very aware of its now defunct StartPage/Ixquick relationship. If Yahoo truly isn't aware of the contractual relationship, especially after all the recent media, they have far greater problems than we thought.

"Or maybe they are being inundated with partnership cancellation requests and can't keep everything straight? "