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If you search for a term on DDG:

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=asdf

and then click on a search result, you will notice that it goes through a redirect:

https://duckduckgo.com/l/?kh=-1&uddg=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.asdf.com%2F

Why does DDG do this? And is this a privacy concern?

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DuckDuckGo may use it to track what link you opened and improve its search rankings. You shouldn't consider that as a bad thing because they know the search term you manually entered anyway.

This is also good for your privacy because it can hide your search term from other https sites, in case the referer info is forwarded to them by your browser.

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  • Interesting. I ask because Google is also doing this: google.com/url?q=http://www.asdf.com along with a unique ID attached to this redirect. Are the two redirects (DDG vs Google) different? And could you please expand on the "hide your search term from other http sites", as I'm not sure how this is supposed to work... – landroni Jan 29 '15 at 15:53
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    Sorry, I had made a typo. I meant "other HTTPS sites". Every time you open a link, your browser sends the server you're accessing some info that can be used to identify your computer and network. One of the lines sent is the HTTP referer. When you access an HTTP address from an HTTPS address, that info is automatically omitted, but it can be sent if you browse from an HTTPS site to another HTTPS site. – user14334 Jan 29 '15 at 20:38
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    Instead of showing the other site a URL like duckduckgo.com/?q=my+privacy, DuckDuckGo is showing them a generic URL like the one in your original post, so they can't tell what search term you used. Here's the other info all site owners can see about you/your browser: echo.opera.com – user14334 Jan 29 '15 at 20:38

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