internet CENSORSHIP

'Privacy-safe' search engine DuckDuckGo latest internet service to get blocked in China

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 September, 2014, 9:04am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 September, 2014, 9:09am

Chinese authorities appear to have blocked the US-based internet search engine DuckDuckGo, which has enjoyed rising popularity over its privacy-oriented searches and iOS integration.

"We saw the online mentions that DuckDuckGo was blocked. We aren't sure why. It has happened before and we were unblocked later," said DuckDuckGo founder and CEO Gabriel Weinberg.

The move adds the search engine to an increasingly long list of online services inaccessible in China in recent months.

In addition to long-blocked Facebook and Twitter, almost all of Google's online services have been blocked since June. Japanese messaging service Line and South Korea's Kakao Talk are also inaccessible.

Weinberg said the Paoli, Pennsylvania-based company had not been contacted by Chinese authorities and that no issues on its side caused the outage.

GreatFire.org, a website monitoring Internet censorship in China, suggested that DuckDuckGo had been blocked starting September 4.

DuckDuckGo registered more than one billion searches last year, of which about 5 per cent originated in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the company's website.

Only foreign search engines that have Chinese servers, such as Bing and Yahoo, work in China. But, operating under Chinese media laws, both Bing and Yahoo heavily censor their search results – in contrast to Google and DuckDuckGo.

Last week, Apple included DuckDuckGo as an option for browser searches on its updated iOS8 operating system for iPhones and iPads.

Some content in this article originally appeared in Tech in Asia and was edited and republished with permission.