Add Metager

Hi PG community. I had a look at why Metager was removed. It shares two blocks of IP address and has a right to a kind of censorship.

For those who are not familiar with it, it’s an open source meta search engine operated by a non profit in Germany.

I still believe that Metager deserves to be added since the collection of IP address is some kind of deanonymized (could not find the best word, though). Is it still considered to be targeted ads?

And the “censorship” is not exclusive to Metager since DuckDuckGo and startpage have similar issues.

Also, unlike other services, we take for granted that privacy policies will be honoured and they don’t record your data and serve targeted ads. But Metager is open source, so it can be verified.

Edit: an extra paragraph added.

This has nothing to do with deanonymisation or whatever may be close to it. It would be very insufficient. I am very much wondering how this would look with ipv6 on their end.

If you want to use Metager without ads you need to use some none private token. I don’t seen how this is recommendable at all. We have many good options with actually decent results.

I fail to see what you mean by “take for granted” how can you know metager is? You can’t. What they publish as open source you will never be able to know if that is the same they run on their end.


I said take for granted, becuase PG criteria is already based on the privacy policies. There is no guarantee that they will keep up their word. I agree that the current recommendations are good, but neither is open source. DDG and Brave as companies have made problematic actions in the past such as adding affiliates into the crypto, the agreement with Microsoft. They were not on search engines, but there is nothing to prevent them to do similar behaviors on their search engines. Are they significant to make these services bad? I dont think so, but they are still there.

My point is being open source and operated by a non-profit provide greater transparency to their operations. It’s not money-driven but a cause driven organisation. I agree that we cannot 100% be sure they run the same source code.

As I said, I am not an expert on the anonymization or pseudonymization, but removing the last block will prevent your searches pinpointed to you. There might be additional data that makes association easier when they are processed together.

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I hate to break to you but this ain’t the open source guides.

We care for privacy. It doesn’t (really) matter. Open source can be a good way of allowing many to audit the code. But that’s only really useful if checks are in place and actual in house audits to verify the code being run or if open source end to end encrypted servcies have reproducible clients. And it requires enough people to actually inspect it. I highly doubt that is the case with Metager.

Yeah everyone has had their controversy also that isn’t super relevant is more important what is the current state of actual facts of the current service.


I do think a discussion has to be made (and if there is, I haven’t seen it) about the mechanism by which we maintain these sorts of private services. If it is through some sort of token creation that ties some people to the search engine while allowing others to enjoy it for free, I would consider that game. Another form of this could just be third-party donations, or worse, some corporate benefactor.

And that is what turns me off of DuckDuckGo, the potential reliance on a company that could subvert its interests as it is a for-profit company, though I have yet to take a true deep-dive into their pockets to figure out just how relatively clean their money is. And it can be argued that they’re already deep in the pocket of Microsoft as they basically feed off of their Bing search engine. And again, money is a requirement for any project to take shape, but I believe it can make a difference if money is actually being funneled to the right projects.

As I am throwing these ideas up in the air, I am most likely going to take the time to review any resources that might’ve been shared here about DuckDuckGo and do a little research myself.

I’m admittedly biased when it comes to Metager (won’t say exactly my relationship, as I’m not planning on doxxing myself, but there is some), but just wanted to add as information that the Android app uses blind signatures to make paid searched even more privacy-preserving. Of course even with the regular paid version of Metager there is no logging of who did a certain search, but with the open-source Android app it goes a step further to prevent correlation:
MetaGer Key

The link on that page is currently broken but the app is on F-Droid: MetaGer Search | F-Droid - Free and Open Source Android App Repository while the browser extensions not yet have this in an official release, but development is ongoing.

Maybe for PG it doesn’t really matter, but this is one of the few search engines run by a non-profit that anybody can pretty much just join and participate in. There’s no entrepreneuer trying a new “privacy” business angle, all finances are transparent and mostly everything is financed through donations, search key sales and membership fees of regular people. I would not recommend the free version of MetaGer necessarily, but the paid version gives very solid results, totally usable for everyday usage, for me personally I think it’s a great project.