DuckDuckGo Now Prevents Android Apps From Ruining Your Privacy

In 2020, Apple created an earthquake in the advertising world by announcing its ATT or App Tracking Transparency feature. On iOS and iPadOS, this feature requires developers to request user consent, via a dialog box, before accessing IDFA.

The IDFA is an identifier included in the operating system, which allows the tracking of users between several apps, for advertising purposes. Apple has not deleted this ID. But the user’s consent is now required and most of the time, the user refuses.

On Android, Google announced a similar initiative. However, the transparency effort of the Mountain View firm regarding the trackers used by mobile applications is not comparable to the functionality of Apple. Understandable, since Google generates revenue by displaying advertisements on sites and applications.

But the good news is, if you’re using an Android smartphone, you now have access to a feature that’s more akin to Apple’s ATT on iOS. And this one is offered by DuckDuckGo.

The search engine, which offers a non-tracking alternative to Google’s, already offers many features to help Internet users protect their privacy. For example, recently DuckDuckGo introduced a feature that allows you to protect your email address from spam.

And this week, DuckDuckGo presents a new feature, currently in beta, on its Android application: “App Tracking Protection”.

How it works ?

According to DuckDuckGo’s explanation, when this feature is active, the application will detect when Android applications are about to send data to third-party companies specializing in tracking, which the search engine lists in a database of trackers. And after detection, requests are blocked.

“You can enjoy your apps as you normally would and App Tracking Protection will run in the background and continue to block trackers detected in your apps, even while you sleep. We’re continually working to identify and protect against new trackers, so you can rest easy knowing you’re getting the most up-to-date protection ”, explains DuckDuckGo.

And that’s not all. The application will also allow you to follow this blocking of tracers in real time.

To take advantage of this new feature, all you have to do is install the DuckDuckGo Android application. You will find a button to activate the App Tracking Protection in the privacy section of the settings. Then, you will have to integrate a waiting list to participate in the beta.

Nonetheless, as an article by Gizmodo notes, DuckDuckGo’s anti-tracking system may have limitations. Indeed, you will not be protected against actors who are not listed in the company’s database. In addition, some applications, such as mobile games, would not always be taken into account.

Facebook and Google in the viewfinder

In any case, DuckDuckGo’s main targets are Facebook and Google trackers which integrate with third-party applications. According to a study by the search engine, 96% of popular apps include third-party trackers.

And of those apps with third-party trackers, 87% would send data to Google, while 68% would send data to Facebook.

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