DuckDuckGo Silences Browser Tracking, Moves Beyond Search

Anti-tracking search engine DuckDuckGo has released updates to its mobile apps and browser extension to integrate a tracker blocker for third-party websites.

The new features include built-in tracker network blocking, smarter encryption, and private search. The updated app and extension are available for Firefox, Safari,Chrome,iOS, and Android.

The DuckDuckGo browser extension and mobile app will now show searchers what the company calls a Privacy Grade rating when visiting a website. The rating denotes the protection level and is based on how many hidden trackers are on the site and whether it's encrypting the connection. It also takes into consideration the terms of serving rating.

The idea is to help people understand the type of information that companies will track and how they track their visits from one site to another.

In December 2017, Mozilla-backed private search browser Cliqz, which acquired privacy tool Ghostery in February 2017, released a white paper with details on how trackers grab private data from more than 75% of all websites.

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For the study, more than 144 million page loads in 12 countries were examined for the analysis. The study found that at least one tracker was around 77.4% of sites tested. The trackers, of course, tag along as consumers search the web. Ten or more trackers hanging on to personal data were found on 21.3% of the sites analyzed. Some 43.6% of the pages had between two and nine trackers.

Google and Facebook monitor users just about everywhere they go. In fact, Google Analytics tracking scripts were found on 46.4% of the websites and Facebook Connect was found on 21.9% of the websites being monitored.

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