DuckDuckGo just added features to boost privacy

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There are many search engines to choose from, but not all are created equal. Google search, of course, is the most widely used, with billions of daily searches. But everything you do on Google is tied to your account. Tap or click here for eight ways Google constantly invades your privacy and how to fix it.

Apple users can go through the native search engine of the Safari browser. Or, if you prefer the super-secure Brave browser, its built-in search functions limit the collection of your data. But many others use DuckDuckGo for its emphasis on privacy.

The search engine has made some changes recently. Read on to see how it takes steps to increase the security of your private information and research data.

Here is the backstory

DuckDuckGo claims to defend user privacy, but in May this year an investigation revealed that it had a syndicated search content contract with Microsoft. DuckDuckGo allows Microsoft to override some of its tracking blocking features.

In a recent blog post, founder Gabriel Weinberg responds to the claims, explaining that the company “didn’t live up to its expectations” regarding web tracking. As a result, the search engine is rolling out several updates to be more transparent about tracking.

For the first change, the “Third-Party Tracker Loading Protection” will now include Microsoft in addition to blocking Facebook and Google ID tracking scripts. The change results from the expiration of the previous Microsoft agreement where DuckDuckGo used Bing as a source for private search results.

“We are happy that this is no longer the case. We have not had, and do not have, a similar limitation with any other company,” Weinberg explains in the blog post.

Public blocklist and new Web Tracking Protection help page

Another change the company will be rolling out over the next few days is to better explain all web tracking protections through a new help page. It also makes its tracker protection list publicly available so you can see what kind of data is blocked by DuckDuckGo.

Other changes include:

  • Updated the privacy dashboard in its app and extensions to show more information about third-party requests and blocked ones.
  • Find out what other third-party queries have been loaded, with the reasons for both when available.

“Users now have one place to look if they want to understand the different types of web privacy protections we offer on the platforms they use. It also shows what is in development for this part of our product roadmap,” says Weinberg.

Speaking to the elephant in the room

To address the issue that has caused many users to question Microsoft’s privacy claims, DuckDuckGo is working on private ad conversions. Weinberg explains that advertising on the search engine is done in partnership with Microsoft. But he has a confidentiality agreement with the tech giant.

It says Microsoft is committed to not profiling users on click-throughs, so “when you click on an advertisement provided by Microsoft that appears on DuckDuckGo, Microsoft Advertising does not associate your click-through behavior with a user profile. “.

Weinberg gives a relatively detailed explanation of how the company achieves this, as advertisers always need statistics. Accordingly, he is working on an architecture for private ad conversions that can be externally validated as unprofiled.

He notes that other companies are also working on converting private advertising. Safari is working on private click measurement and Firefox is working on interoperable private attribution.

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