Privacy advocates rejoice!
DuckDuckGo, the privacy-focused search engine, announced on Aug. 5 that it will start blocking third-party Microsoft tracking scripts in its browsing apps and browser extensions in the next week. DuckDuckGo said its beta apps will also start blocking these third-party tracking scripts in the next month.
The search engine has positioned itself as an alternative to other search engines, like Google Search. The big difference between the two is DuckDuckGo blocks tracking scripts and third-party cookies from tracking you across the web.
However, in May DuckDuckGo came under fire after Microsoft tracking scripts were found while using DuckDuckGo’s browsers.
“We were limited in how we could apply our 3rd-Party Tracker Loading Protection on Microsoft tracking scripts due to a policy requirement related to our use of Bing as a source for our private search results,” DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg wrote in a blog post. “We’re glad this is no longer the case. We have not had, and do not have, any similar limitation with any other company.”
DuckDuckGo’s 3rd-Party Tracker Loading Protection already blocks tracking scripts from companies like Facebook and Google. DuckDuckGo said it was already blocking most Microsoft tracking scripts and restricted Microsoft tracking through other protections, including blocking Microsoft’s third-party cookies in DuckDuckGo browsers.
DuckDuckGo also announced that Microsoft has committed to not profile DuckDuckGo users on ad clicks. Advertising on DuckDuckGo is part of the company’s partnership with Microsoft.
“When you click on a Microsoft-provided ad that appears on DuckDuckGo, Microsoft Advertising does not associate your ad-click behavior with a user profile,” DuckDuckGo writes on its website. “It also does not store or share that information other than for accounting purposes.”
DuckDuckGo does note that some advertisers use Microsoft scripts in order to see in Microsoft Advertising how often an ad click results in a purchase. While the 3rd-Party Tracker Loading Protection doesn’t block these requests from loading on the advertisers website, they are blocked in all other contexts. You can disable ads in DuckDuckGo in search settings, and viewing ads in DuckDuckGo is anonymous.
DuckDuckGo also unveiled a new webpage that explains what protections DuckDuckGo provides across all its products. DuckDuckGo published public directories of what is and isn’t blocked when using the browsers, too. Users can report any issues they see in the directories by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can download DuckDuckGo’s Android and iOS mobile apps from the Google Play store or the App Store.
For more on privacy, check out what to know about DuckDuckGo and why you should switch to DuckDuckGo.