Image: DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo has always been known for its privacy-first approach, but new findings suggest that the company may not be fully committed to that ideal. As discovered by security researcher Zack Edwards, DuckDuckGo had quietly made a search agreement with Microsoft that allows the tech giant’s trackers to be accepted on its browser despite blocking those from competitors that include Google and Facebook. Further tests conducted by Edwards revealed that the browser also allows tracking services that are related to LinkedIn and Bing. DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg has shared a tweet confirming that his company is working with Microsoft to remove the restriction detailed in BleepingComputer’s report, as well as a lengthier statement about how DuckDuckGo still offers an impressive level of privacy protections.

We have always been extremely careful to never promise anonymity when browsing, because that frankly isnโ€™t possible given how quickly trackers change how they work to evade protections and the tools we currently offer. When most other browsers on the market talk about tracking protection, they are usually referring to 3rd-party cookie protection and fingerprinting protection, and our browsers for iOS, Android, and our new Mac beta, impose these restrictions on third-party tracking scripts, including those from Microsoft.ย 

What we’re talking about here is an above-and-beyond protection that most browsers don’t even attempt to do โ€” that is, blocking third-party tracking scripts before they load on 3rd party websites. Because we’re doing this where we can, users are still getting significantly more privacy protection with DuckDuckGo than they would using Safari, Firefox and other browsers. This blog post we published gets into the real benefits users enjoy from this approach, like faster load times (46% average decrease) and less data transferred (34% average decrease). Our goal has always been to provide the most privacy we can in one download, by default without any complicated settings.”

Source: Zack Edwards (via BleepingComputer)

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5 comments

  1. This is why the only solution to privacy is to regulate big user data and its monetization out of existence.

    There is no opting out. No matter how hard you try, they still get their tentacles on your data.

    We need to make it illegal to collect and use it for any purpose. That is the only solution.

    The European GDPR doesn't go far enough. The goal needs to be to eliminate big user data ll together and completely end the practice, regardless of the economic impact.
  2. Hate to say it but last week tonight had a great segment on this. Lets hope their leverage does something.
    I canโ€™t say Iโ€™ve seen that show affect any change yet. It does a hilarious job of attempting to apply shame though.
  3. Actually no it's prompted some change or at least investigations in the past. I know this but for the life of me can't recall what specifically got changed.

    The one on metadata though... man that's golden.
  4. I didn't even know they had a browser.

    That said, their excuse is a bullshit one.

    Sure, using any browser is not a guarantee of privacy. There are a lot of very smart and financially motivated evil geniuses figuring out new ways to track and harvest data from users.

    Entering into an agreement to share data from a product that you have marketed as privacy oriented is a completely different issue though. That implies intent.

    This completely undermines the case for using Duck Duck Go products. They also claimed their search engine doesn't share data. Is that a lie too?

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