When using StartPage I get asked to complete a capcha. Why is Startpage asking for a Capcha? Is StartPage identifying or spying on me? Is StartPage compromised or is it safe?
This is not a indication that Tor is compromised
The captcha on startpage.com is used to prevent data scraping by limiting the number of searches. When the limit is reached a captcha is shown.
Tor exit nodes often reach these kinds of limits since a lot of traffic goes through only a few exit nodes. From StartPage view it looks like one user does a huge amount of searches.
From StartPage support:
StartPage and Ixquick use CAPTCHAs to confirm that you are a user of our service.
Sending a large number of StartPage searches in a short period of time can result in StartPage asking you to complete a CAPTCHA. Once you complete a CAPTCHA, you won't need to complete another one unless you exceed the request limit again.
Yes, Tor Browser is compromised. Likely due to the US MIC who either have setup enough nodes to undermine the basic security or through other means.
How do I know this? I installed Tor Browser on a new computer that had just installed the OS and connected to the internet. A bit earlier(while I was waiting for the OS to install) I was surfing on my tablet for some products(the tablet is in no way connected to the computer or any accounts the computer uses). Well, after running TOR I saw amazon ads for very similar items(not common items either) I surfed for(which was very brief, about 3 minutes as I was really just checking that Tor was working). It was too targeted and non-random to be coincidence. I checked the security of Tor and it said it was secure.
I don't know how much is captured or how it is done but I would bet 99% that it is compromised. If you think about it, the US MIC would definitely use it(as would any evil government) as the very nature of it being "private" means there is a lot to exploit(and that is clearly what the US government is about(as most governments are)). Since Tor was created by "individuals" in USNRL it clearly has ties(precisely why it was originally created may have been for good... but like all things, power corrupts).
Tor is very likely compromised and it is likely only best used as one of several methods of protection. It adds a layer that will protect one from most of the methods of tracking and such. I do not know of the Tor Browser is spying on one though as that is a harder issue to fix(one can use other browsers but I'm not sure if that would remove that potential issue).
I think as long as you are not doing anything significantly against the US government they will ignore what you do(they probably still collect data though). I imagine it is far too much data for their drones to sift through so most is analyzed by AI for the biggest "criminals"(threats to US power centers).