I won’t argue with you on any of those points.
The reason why I referenced PrivacyTools is that most people who have raised concerns with me regarding System1 and Startpage became aware of the issue based on PrivacyTools temporarily delisting them. But they often are not aware that PrivacyTools relisted them after having their concerns addressed.
From my own personal perspective, as described in the previous links to the things I have written about this subject, I am most concerned by the behaviors of a search engine. Startpage has a number of problems that I don’t like, but so far I have not found a search engine that both works (returns useful search results) and has less negative aspects than Startpage.
What search engine would you recommend instead of Startpage?
When I ask that question I most often hear DuckDuckGo as the answer. That was the original search engine used by Privacy Browser. However, I switched away from it several years ago. In addition to the items listed in that blog post, since that time they have moved their hosting to Microsoft Azure, as seen below. Microsoft has full access to everything on Azure, including all network traffic, all SSL certificates, all logs, everything. With something like GitHub, which I don’t like to use personally because I don’t like to depend on Microsoft, all the data is public anyway so there are few privacy concerns. But with sensitive search data, even if you fully trust DuckDuckGo, I think it is irresponsible of them to host it in a way that grants Microsoft full access as well.
$ nslookup duckduckgo.com
$ whois 184.108.40.206
NetRange: 220.127.116.11 - 18.104.22.168
Parent: NET52 (NET-52-0-0-0-0)
NetType: Direct Assignment
Organization: Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)
Perhaps there is some other search engine you recommend besides DuckDuckGo. I would recommend you follow the links above and see if it has already been considered. If not, I would be happy to take a look at it.