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.
You can capture data within the DuckDuckGo so-called private browser on a website like Facebook's https://t.co/u8W44qvsqF and you'll see that DDG does NOT stop data flows to Microsoft's Linkedin domains or their Bing advertising domains.— ℨ𝔞𝔠𝔥 𝔈𝔡𝔴𝔞𝔯𝔡𝔰 (@thezedwards) May 23, 2022
iOS + Android proof:
We have always been extremely careful to never promise anonymity when browsing, because that frankly isn’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.
What we’re talking about here is an above-and-beyond protection that most browsers don’t even attempt to do — 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.”