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DuckDuckGo Search Engine Gets Boost After PRISM Scandal

The 'anonymous' search engine DuckDuckGo is getting a boost off the PRISM scandal that is putting big tech companies like Google and Apple to shame.

(Read More: How Prism Might Work, and Why That Matters to Congress and You )

DuckDuckGo, a search engine that claims it gives its users complete anonymity, has seen a 33 percent increase in users since the NSA news broke over a week ago, said founder and CEO Gabriel Weinberg on CNBC's Closing Bell Tuesday.

"We always knew people didn't want to be tracked, but what hadn't happened was reporting on the private alternatives and so it's no surprise that people are making a choice to switch to things that that will give them great results and also have real privacy," Weinberg said.

Basically, most tech companies store user information—like searches, email account data, searches on social platforms—in data warehouses, so that it can be accessed again. But DuckDuckGo opts to throw any of that information away and not to save it, Weinberg said.

While the default settings on the search engine are set to not track users' searches or any personal information, if a user changes these settings, information about the user could still leak out, according to the company's privacy policy.

(Read More: Leaker's Employer Became Wealthy Through Government Secrets )

The policy states:

"We also save searches, but again, not in a personally identifiable way, as we do not store IP addresses or unique User agent strings. We use aggregate, non-personal search data to improve things like misspellings...If you turn redirects off in the settings and you don't either turn POST on or use our encrypted site, then your search could leak to sites you click on. Yet as explained above, this does not happen by default."

Big tech companies—like Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo and Apple—all were subject to thousands of government inquiries about user information. DuckDuckGo, though, didn't have the government knocking on their door.

"We had zero inquiries and the reason for that is because we don't store any data," Weinberg said. "So if they come to us—which they know because it's in our privacy policy—we have nothing to hand over, it's all anonymous data."

But that doesn't mean the government can't come after any information that the user has chosen to share by changing their default settings.

The privacy policy clearly states that "... like anyone else, we will comply with court ordered legal requests. However, in our case, we don't expect any because there is nothing useful to give them since we don't collect any personal information.

_ By CNBC's Cadie Thompson. Follow her on Twitter @CadieThompson.

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