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DuckDuckGo Caught Betraying Users Privacy By Giving Microsoft Permission To Track

DuckDuckGo has been implicated in a privacy betrayal scandal after reports emerge that it gives Microsoft permission to track users despite its promises. If this report turns out to be true, it could ruin DuckDuckGo’s reputation.

As many internet savvy people are aware, the alternative software company gained prominence because of its somewhat anti-big-corporation manifesto. It sells itself as the last defence between the common man’s privacy and big tech’s intrusion.

However, Bleeping Computer reported that DuckDuckGo is favouring Microsoft while only blocking others. Security researcher Zach Edwards said in a Tweet, “While DuckDuckGo blocks Google and Facebook trackers, it allowed Microsoft trackers to continue running.”

And, the shocking part? The company is not denying this. In response to the accusation, DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg said:

“For non-search tracker blocking (eg in our browser), we block most third-party trackers. Unfortunately our Microsoft search syndication agreement prevent us from doing more to Microsoft-owned properties. However, we have been continually pushing and expect to be doing more soon.”

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Yet, he explained that users are ‘completely’ anonymous when they load search results. This protection covers ads and although the company worked with Microsoft to make ad clicks protected, the Windows-maker does not associate users’ ad-click behavior with a user profile.

For further clarification, the company released a statement about its privacy limitation. It told 9to5Mac:

“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.”

Despite its statement, the criticisms have started pouring in about how it promises one thing and does another thing.

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Onwuasoanya Obinna

A reader of books and stringer of words. Passionate about Science and Tech. When not writing or reading he is surfing the web and Tweeting.