ROTechnica
DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo is not as Private as You Thought

DuckDuckGo is a search engine only available to members of the DuckDuckGo community. It is adamant about ensuring that privacy is distributed across the internet. However, we discovered one flaw that poses privacy concerns.

While your search words may be encrypted and transferred over your network, they appear in plain text in your browsing history. The firm also makes a mobile browser for Android and iOS that has HTTPS-always encryption, third-party cookie filtering, tracker blocking, and its privacy-focused search engine.

On its website, DuckDuckGo mentions that they have a relationship with Microsoft. According to the agreement, third-party websites cannot be blocked from using Microsoft trackers. In a Twitter conversation discussing the deal, Gabriel Weinberg revealed the information. He stated that they were attempting to break out of the agreement in the future and provide a more private browsing experience.

Security researcher Zach Edwards revealed that DuckDuckGo’s mobile browser accepts Microsoft trackers while banning those from Google and Facebook. Additional testing indicated that the company’s mobile browser supports Bing and LinkedIn trackers while banning trackers from other websites.

Due to a search syndication arrangement with Microsoft, DuckDuckGo founder and CEO Gabriel Weinberg responded to Edwards’ thread on Twitter. Unfortunately, his browser only enables Microsoft trackers on third-party sites. In a tweet, Weinberg elaborated on the situation, saying; We block most third-party trackers for non-search tracker blocking.”

Unfortunately, we can’t do more with Microsoft-owned properties due to our search syndication agreement with Microsoft. However, we’ve been working hard and intend to do even more shortly.”

While Microsoft trackers are allowed in DuckDuckGo’s mobile browser, this is not the case with its search engine, which makes money from private adverts based on search results pages viewed by its customers. The news that its mobile browser has Microsoft trackers comes at a particularly inconvenient time for DuckDuckGo, who recently chastised Google for its new Topics and FLEDGE monitoring technologies in a tweet.

Because DuckDuckGo’s desktop browser is currently only accessible for Mac, the business also recommended that users install its Privacy Essentials Chrome extension to disable Topics and Fledge when using Google Chrome.

The security assessment verifies that the browser permitted trackers belonging to the Bing and LinkedIn domains. All other trackers, on the other hand, were disabled. This runs counter to their boasts of being the most privacy-conscious browser.

DuckDuckGo’s CEO says they can’t ban every third-party tracker because methods evolve so quickly. Furthermore, its search engine does not track visitors in any way. So expecting anonymity on the internet and putting your trust in privacy-focused companies appears to be a futile venture.

DuckDuckGo just released a mobile browser and a Chrome extension for blocking trackers.

This disclosure, however, will undoubtedly undermine its reputation as a privacy-focused browser that permits Microsoft trackers to operate.

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