Duck Duck Go Browser in Agreement With Microsoft to Allow MS Trackers

plat1098

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"Tracking is tracking"

While DuckDuckGo has been transparent regarding the advertisement partnership with Microsoft, it is not clear why they did not disclose the allowing of Microsoft trackers until a security researcher discovered it.

This revelation comes at the wrong time, as DuckDuckGo recently went after Google for their new 'Topics' and 'FLEDGE' tracking methods, saying, "Google says they're better for privacy, but the simple fact is tracking is tracking, no matter what you call it."

Edit: I questioned on the BC site whether the search engine was culpable and received an answer that "just the browser" is involved. Not the search engine.
 
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MuzzMelbourne

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Mar 13, 2022
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Edit: I questioned on the BC site whether the search engine was culpable and received an answer that "just the browser" is involved. Not the search engine.

Mmmmm, bit of a worry isn't it. I have been crowing about DDG privacy to anyone who'll listen, now I'm not sure. I also have @duck.com email address that is a mail forwarder that is supposed to strip trackers from them, does it strip all or just allows Microsoft companies?

Luckily, I use Safari browser, butr DDG search engine. I wonder how that is affected.

Damn...

Edit: Thanks @plat1098
 

plat1098

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Luckily, I use Safari browser, butr DDG search engine. I wonder how that is affected.
Yeah, I found it difficult to separate the browser from the search engine. I asked this question on the BC site--you can read it in the comments following the linked article above. The author did state it was just the browser found to be hosting the Microsoft trackers at this point, not the search engine.
 

MuzzMelbourne

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Yeah, I found it difficult to separate the browser from the search engine. I asked this question on the BC site--you can read it in the comments following the linked article above. The author did state it was just the browser found to be hosting the Microsoft trackers at this point, not the search engine.

Cool. I have Safari setup to Prevent Cross-site Tracking and Hide My IP from Trackers and Websites. I also have ProtonVPN Plus setup with Netshield blocking Trackers, Ads and Malware utilising the DDG search engine. I don't know how well it all works, but I don't seem to get hassled by anyone.
 

upnorth

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DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg
"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."
 

Imranmt

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DuckDuckGo made a deal with the devil. Due to a confidential search agreement, the DuckDuckGo browser does not block all Microsoft trackers. What’s worse, DuckDuckGo only acknowledged this “privacy hole” after it was discovered by a security researcher.

As you may know, DuckDuckGo pulls its search results from other services, primarily Bing. You may also know that clicking a Microsoft-provided ad in DuckDuckGo will reveal your IP address to the Microsoft Advertising service—this is explicitly stated on DuckDuckGo’s website and in the company’s search engine.

But this partnership goes a bit deeper than we thought. Security researcher @thezedwards found that the mobile DuckDuckGo browser does not block Microsoft trackers on third-party websites, such as the Facebook-owned Workplace.com.


Gabriel Weinberg, the CEO of DuckDuckGo, is now running damage control on Twitter. He explains that Microsoft cannot see what you search in DuckDuckGo, and the DuckDuckGo browser blocks all Microsoft cookies. But if you visit a website that contains Microsoft’s trackers, then your data is exposed to services like Bing and LinkedIn.

This is the result of DuckDuckGo’s “search syndication agreement” with Microsoft. In order to pull search information from Bing, the privacy experts at DuckDuckGo have to poke holes in their browser’s security system.

While DuckDuckGo has a solid privacy policy when it comes to Microsoft’s ads, it hasn’t explained how Microsoft uses data from third-party trackers. And that’s quite alarming. Maybe this situation is overblown, or maybe Microsoft can build targeted ad profiles based on your web activity in DuckDuckGo—we don’t know because DuckDuckGo signed a confidentiality agreement.
 

TairikuOkami

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Strike 1 (censoring), strike 2 (downranking) , strike 3 (tracking), ... I honestly lost the track, DDG just has to go.

Only their browser*
It is the same company, so it shows their privacy values, or the lack of.
Doing it is fine as long as users know about it, but they hide it, even deny it.
 
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Strike 1 (censoring), strike 2 (downranking) , strike 3 (tracking), ... I honestly lost the track, DDG just has to go.


It is the same company, so it shows their privacy values, or the lack of.
Doing it is fine as long as users know about it, but they hide it, even deny it.
Censoring and downranking disinformation is hardly worth bashing it for.
 
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rain2reign

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Majority of people I have talked too, about this subject for a few years, all have a similar sentiment. They wouldn't mind it that much, if it was (A) fully transparent and (B) noted down on their website or blog beforehand. Along with what I read a lot on many privacy and tech forums, many of the people of behind either respective principle, seem to have lost trust based on the fact that it was a "hidden" agreement and not because it actually happened.

And that is separate from the issue many are having about the use of the Bing API and not being transparent about its implementation in their services. (not exclusive to DDG!)
 

plat1098

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Not disclosing something like this makes you wonder what else is hidden from us. **

Like others have said, it's not so much that it's being done, it's that it was kept a secret and more importantly (to me): the hypocrisy viz: Calling Google out on its "privacy practices."

I haven't dumped DDG search engine yet, though. I wish Brave would expand a little there. Ooo, forgot about bing!!! yes! (no not really.)

** Re: disclosure. I stopped by a fast food restaurant earlier today and read the menu. There was disclosure about how much sodium was in each product and which products exceeded the federal guidelines for excessive sodium. Just about every item on the menu had that little mark next to it. OK, so I ordered anyway. At least I was informed. So with regard to DDG-gate, I'd think there has to be more to this., to where there would be public outcry rather than bland, mass acceptance.
 

shukla44

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Edit: I questioned on the BC site whether the search engine was culpable and received an answer that "just the browser" is involved. Not the search engine.
No problems. I am using Edge with DDG on Windows 11. So MS can track all they want as i am letting them (I don't want to switch from Windows).

But clearly an eye opener. Don't blindly trust.
 

Arequire

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I have to wonder if this affects their browser extension too, as Tracker Radar servers as the basis for both their browser and extension's tracker blocking.

Personally I don't agree with those stating they should never have signed the contract in the first place, as their search engine would have never existed without using Bing's index, but I do believe DuckDuckGo—knowing that this stipulation of keeping Microsoft's domains unblocked was present in their contract—shouldn't have branched out into tracker blocking until the stipulation was no longer applicable.