What are your thoughts on Ecosia?

I mainly want to use Ecosia because they use their ad revenue to plant trees, something I can definitely get behind. But their privacy policy is somewhat concerning. Namely this part:

For example, when you do a search on Ecosia we forward the following information to our partner, Bing: IP address (obfuscated), user agent string, search term, and some settings like your country and language setting.

Additionally, by default Ecosia sets a Bing-specific “Client ID” parameter to improve the quality of your search results. If your browser has “Do Not Track” enabled, we disable the “Client ID” automatically. You can also choose to disable this feature by modifying your user settings.

UMatrix also detected Ecosia connecting directly to Bing’s image servers whenever a search contains images. Though I feel that if I use Do Not Track, a VPN, and ensure my user agent string is sufficiently generic, Bing shouldn’t get any more data out of me than DuckDuckGo (my current search engine) would?

What do you think of Ecosia? Does the tree planting outweigh the privacy issues? Would you use it over something like DuckDuckGo?

@Ordoviz
39M

As far as I know Ecosia doesn’t earn money if you don’t click on the ads which would completely defeat the purpose of using it but I could be wrong in that regard.

@AgreeableLandscape
admin
creator
49M

Don’t internet ads generate revenue just from you looking at it? So as long as you turn your ad blocker off for that site?

@Ordoviz
39M

From their FAQ:

Taking into account that not every Ecosia user clicks on an ad every time they search, we earn an average of 0.5 cents (Euro) per search.

@AgreeableLandscape
admin
creator
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9M

I stand corrected then.

@Stayawesome
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deleted by creator

@AgreeableLandscape
admin
creator
19M

I don’t use Ecosia mainly because its a search engine that gives some of its money to planting trees, they still pay their employees and managers, and of course who chooses how much they pay themselves? Us? No they decide that for themselves.

They have public financial reports so you can see how much they actually contribute: https://blog.ecosia.org/ecosia-financial-reports-tree-planting-receipts/

I think that if you really care about the planet, you should help support initiatives that you believe in, but also taking action where you can that will help the environment, such as cycling instead of taking the train/car to work, recycling etc.

I mean, there’s nothing stopping you from doing all that and using Ecosia.

I think that the only solution to search engines is to have something like YaCry whereby the search engine is locale on your computer and you have a peer to peer network where different peers can initiate a crawl of the web and each peer works together on it, where each peer can query the results of each other.

One comment I have to this is that there absolutely needs to be easy ways to blacklist people and delete stuff from your own instance, otherwise it will just turn into a cesspool of disinformation and other bad stuff.

Also a cool idea would be to somehow combine blockchain technology with search engines.

I disagree. Blockchain by design doesn’t allow anything to be deleted, which immediately presents massive privacy and security issues if you’re storing other people’s internet data, also it means that harmful or illegal information can never be removed.

@Stayawesome
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@AgreeableLandscape
admin
creator
29M

Looking at the data they spend more on taxes and social security than they do actually planting trees. I’m no finance manger, but to me that doesn’t look like good value for money.

I mean, they’re required to honour both by law, so it doesn’t seem fair to say they’re purposely not spending that money on trees. Also, it doesn’t cost you money so I’d say it’s better than nothing.

I agree with you, but is the cost worth the reward? How much of your data needs to be sold and ads you need to see to plant just one tree?

They actually do tell you what information they send to Bing (and they don’t permanently store your information at all) in their privacy policy, which I linked in the post, and I also proposed a way to defeat that amount of tracking immediately below pointing that out.

Completely agree with you. What is u/stayawesome suggesting, for ecosia to stop paying its employees? Thats a no-go

I use ecosia because, being european, it is not subjet to US’ NSLs as is DDG. I dont really know that much about what they forward to bing, but as DDG uses the same backend, I cant think there is much difference

@gottfried
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deleted by creator

@Stayawesome
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A place to discuss privacy and freedom in the digital world.

Privacy has become a very important issue in modern society, with companies and governments constantly abusing their power, more and more people are waking up to the importance of digital privacy.

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