DuckDuckGo responds to recent criticism saying the third-party tracking scripts it blocks will now include scripts from Microsoft.
Earlier this year, a security researcher discovered DuckDuckGo’s mobile browser transferring data to Microsoft-owned properties when visiting certain websites.
As a company that promises never to track users, DuckDuckGo found itself in trouble when the security researcher shared his findings online.
The issue stems from DuckDuckGo’s search syndication deal with Microsoft Bing, and CEO Gabriel Weinberg dismissed it, saying “nothing can provide 100% protection.”
Now, Weinberg is on a mission to “raise the standard of trust,” as he announces DuckDuckGo is expanding third-party tracker loading protection.
“Raising that standard means maximizing the privacy we offer by default, being transparent about how our privacy protections work, and doing our best to make the Internet less creepy. Recently, I’ve heard from a number of users and understand that we didn’t meet their expectations around one of our browser’s web tracking protections. So today we are announcing more privacy and transparency around DuckDuckGo’s web tracking protections.”
DuckDuckGo Blocks Microsoft Trackers
DuckDuckGo is expanding the third-party tracking scripts it blocks from loading on websites to include Microsoft trackers.
This update is rolling out over the next week to DuckDuckGo’s mobile browsing apps on iOS and Android and its desktop browser extensions.
Weinberg continues in a blog post:
“This expands our 3rd-Party Tracker Loading Protection, which blocks identified tracking scripts from Facebook, Google, and other companies from loading on third-party websites, to now include third-party Microsoft tracking scripts. This web tracking protection is not offered by most other popular browsers by default and sits on top of many other DuckDuckGo protections.”
Weinberg adds that DuckDuckGo’s tracker loading protection is no longer held back by a policy agreement with Microsoft:
“Previously, 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. We’re glad this is no longer the case. We have not had, and do not have, any similar limitation with any other company.”
After the update rolls out next week, one third-party tracker will be allowed to load to help advertisers measure ad clicks.
Weinberg explains why DuckDuckGo doesn’t block the tracker bat.bing.com by default:
“Currently, if an advertiser wants to detect conversions for their own ads that are shown on DuckDuckGo, 3rd-Party Tracker Loading Protection will not block bat.bing.com requests from loading on the advertiser’s website following DuckDuckGo ad clicks, but these requests are blocked in all other contexts.”
Disabling ads in DuckDuckGo’s search settings will allow you to avoid all trackers.
Providing further transparency, DuckDuckGo has published a new page with a complete list of all the web tracking protections it offers.
Featured Image: Sharaf Maksumov/Shutterstock