Privacy-focused browser DuckDuckGo (DDG) has discontinued Microsoft tracking scripts from loading on third-party websites. This comes after the company faced backlash from its users from allowing Microsoft to track their information which includes IP addresses.
Websites typically embed scripts from other companies, also called third-party scripts, that automatically load when you visit their site. For instance, Google Analytics is the most prevalent script used by many websites just to keep a track of their daily users. According to DuckDuckGo, Google can use this information to profile users and even track IP addresses and other identifiers like your device name.
DuckDuckGo says that its third-party Tracker Loading Protection helps address this vulnerability, by stopping most trackers from loading in the first place, providing significantly more protection.
The company’s third-party Tracker blocked identified tracking scripts from Facebook, Google, and other companies. But, Microsoft was not under the ambit of this protection. A security researcher named Zach Edwards was first to point out the exclusion that he apparently uncovered while auditing the browser’s privacy claims.
Taking action on the claims of the researcher, the browser has announced a new update. “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,” DuckDuckGo said in a statement.
“I’ve been building DuckDuckGo as an independent company for almost 15 years. After all this time, I believe more than ever that the majority of people online would choose to be more private if they could press a privacy “easy button,” said Gabriel Weinberg, CEO, DuckDuckGo.
This is not the first time DuckDuckGo has been questioned over its privacy. Earlier in April, reports emerged stating that DuckDuckGo has removed several search results of piracy-related websites like The Pirate Bay, 1337x, and fmovies. Responding to the allegation, Weinberg had noted that the company “does not purge any results”.