DuckDuckGo now allows all Android users to block trackers in their apps

DuckDuckGo for Android’s App Tracking Protection has reached open beta, allowing all Android users to block third-party trackers across all of their installed apps.

DuckDuckGo for Android is a privacy-focused web browser, search engine, and data protection utility, downloaded over 10 million times. google apps. It includes several privacy features, including search term anonymization, hidden tracker blocking, email tracker protection, automatic HTTPS, and one-click browsing history clearing.

App Tracking Protection aims to increase privacy throughout the entire operating system by blocking third party tracking scripts in other Android apps installed on the device.

“It’s a free feature in the DuckDuckGo Android app that helps block third-party trackers in apps on your phone (like Google snooping in your weather app) — which means more comprehensive privacy and less scary targeting,” DuckDuckGo announced today.

Compared to the previous near beta version of the feature, the new version of App Tracking Protection lets Android users know exactly what trackers are blocked and what kind of data they’re targeting.

This feature is somewhat similar to Apple’s App Tracking Transparency, but unlike Apple’s feature, the DuckDuckGo system does not rely on app developers complying with user selection.

Block all known trackers

DuckDuckGo says Android users have an average of 35 apps installed on their devices, which generates between one thousand and 2,000 tracking attempts per day for more than 70 tracking companies.

App Tracking Protection promises to block all such attempts in the background while users are regularly surfing the web, playing games or checking the weather on their device.

This blocking also occurs without causing a noticeable impact on device performance, something that has been improved in the latest version of the app (v5.143.1).

Prevention is based on continuous and incremental updating List of known trackers It is independent of the user’s choice in the associated tracking request dialogs that are typically presented within applications.

To activate the new feature, the user has to open the DuckDuckGo app on Android, navigate to the settings Privacythen enable Application tracking protectionAs shown below.

Enable Application Tracking Protection
Enable Application Tracking Protection
Source: DuckDuckGo

The feature works by configuring the DuckDuckGo Android app as a VPN on the device, allowing the app to filter traffic from other apps and block trackers.

However, unlike a traditional VPN, this does not provide anonymity while browsing the web or connecting to remote devices and is only used locally.

“App Tracking Protection uses a local ‘VPN connection’, which means it works its magic on your smartphone and without sending your app data to DuckDuckGo or other remote servers,” DuckDuckGo explains.

So, to enable the feature, DuckDuckGo will ask the user to allow the VPN connection to be established, which is required for the blocker to work as expected.

From now on, the app will regularly update the user with auto-generated summaries keeping track of blocked apps to give them an idea of ​​what’s going on behind the scenes.

Summary of blocked trackers
Summary of blocked trackers (DuckDuckGo)

Those who want to assess how much each app threatens their privacy can use the Real-time App Tracking Protection view to see which trackers are loaded and blocked.

Trackers that are blocked on a specific app
Trackers blocked on specific apps

Application Tracking Protection is a powerful tool, but users should keep in mind that the feature is still in the beta stage of development.

Therefore, it may cause sites or applications to not work properly, some trackers to remain undetected, or lead to performance issues. If you encounter any of these issues, you can disable the feature.

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