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[ NNSquad ] Search Engines Should Become Government Spies, Says EU Parliament

----- Forwarded message from Katherine Albrecht <kma@startpage.com> -----

Date: Mon, 28 Jun 2010 10:36:17 -0400
From: Katherine Albrecht <kma@startpage.com>
Subject: Search Engines Should Become Government Spies, Says EU Parliament
To: lauren@pfir.org

Dear Privacy-Minded Colleague:

The European Parliament wants to take away the right to search the
Internet in privacy.

As you know, the Startpage and Ixquick search engines have helped
millions of people protect their privacy through anonymous, certified
proxy searching. Human rights activists, whistleblowers, and regular
people all appreciate the security of knowing we never record users' IP
addresses and we don't use tracking cookies.

But unless we act now, Europeans may lose that right. 

A directive known as "Written Declaration 29," adopted last week by the
European Parliament, calls for legislation that would require search
engines to make a record of all search queries. 

Spying on people's searches without evidence of a crime would throw us
back to the East German Stasi era where everyone was under surveillance.
We believe privacy is a fundamental right, and we have vowed to resist
this move.

Please read and distribute our press release below. We need your help to
spread the word. 


Katherine Albrecht, Ed.D.
VP Marketing and Media Relations, Startpage (by Ixquick)
The private, anonymous search engine alternative to Google, Yahoo, and


Search Engines Should Become Government Spies, Says EU Parliament 
Ixquick and Startpage will fight "Big Brother" data retention clause in
Declaration 29 

(Brussels / New York / Zeist June 28, 2010) A draconian proposal to
retain all Internet search traffic, known as "Written Declaration 29,"
was adopted by the European Parliament last week. Framed as a measure to
crack down on paedophiles, the controversial Declaration calls on the EU
to require that search engines store all search traffic for up to two
years for possible analysis by authorities.

Search engine Ixquick (www.ixquick.com), widely regarded as the world's
most private search engine, has built a strong privacy reputation by
storing no search data on its users. The company believes it has been
singled out by the data retention proposal, and it has vowed to strongly
oppose the measure becoming law.

"Since Google, Yahoo, and Bing already retain users' search data, this
proposal is clearly aimed at Ixquick and our English-language subsidiary
Startpage (www.startpage.com)," said Robert Beens, CEO of Ixquick. "We
have worked hard to create a privacy-friendly search engine that
embodies the spirit of EU Privacy Protections, in line with the strict
recommendations of the EU Article 29 Data Protection Working Party. This
Declaration is evidence that the left hand of the EU does not know what
the right hand is doing."

Mr. Beens fears that if the measure becomes law, it will vastly
undermine the privacy of over 500 million law-abiding EU citizens.
Storing everyone's search data, rather than restricting surveillance to
known or suspected offenders, would give the government access to a rich
trove of political, medical, professional, and personal data on
virtually every person in Europe. And critics say it will do little to
stop child pornography. 

"Sex offenders exchange files through underground networks. They don't
find this stuff through search engines," said Alex Hanff of Privacy
International, an advocacy group that is launching a campaign against
the measure. "I spent eight years helping law enforcement track down
online sex offenders and never once did we see a case where search
engine data was useful."

Ixquick will join the public campaign started by Privacy International
to stop the provisions of Written Declaration 29 from becoming law.

"Privacy is a fundamental right and the basis of a free society. The
phenomenal success of Ixquick and Startpage proves that people don't
want to be watched by their governments," said Mr. Beens. "Spying on
law-abiding citizens is not the way forward, and we will stand by our
principles to protect the public's ability to search in privacy."

About Startpage and Ixquick
Startpage is the English-language version of Ixquick, an international,
award-winning search engine with an industry-leading privacy policy.
Launched in 1998, Ixquick is owned by Surfboard Holding BV, a Dutch
company. Ixquick has been awarded the EU Privacy Seal by the independent
certification authority Europrise. Further information can be found at
www.startpage.com and www.ixquick.com.

For press inquiries please contact:
Dr. Katherine Albrecht
US Media Relations, Startpage
877-434-3100 [U.S. toll free]
+1 973-273-2125 [International
Alex van Eesteren
EU Media Relations, Ixquick
+31 30 6971778

----- End forwarded message -----