The Weekend Leader - New DuckDuckGo tool to block apps from tracking Android users

New DuckDuckGo tool to block apps from tracking Android users

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Privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo is launching 'App Tracking Protection for Android' into beta, a new feature that will block third-party trackers like Google and Facebook lurking in other apps.

These hidden app trackers are creepy because they can track everything you do in an app and also can continue to track you even when you are not using the app.

"Many of these trackers are designed to record your activity in real time: where you are, what you are doing, where you have been, and even how many hours you sleep at night," the search engine said in a blog post.

Over 96 per cent of the popular free Android apps DuckDuckGo tested contained hidden third-party trackers. Of those, 87 per cent sent data to Google and 68 per cent sent data to Facebook.

Apple recently introduced App Tracking Transparency, a feature for iPhones and iPads that asks users in each app whether they want to allow third-party app tracking or not, with the vast majority of people opting-out.

"However, most smartphone users worldwide use Android, where no similar feature exists. In fact, advertisers are now spending more money on Android apparently because it is now easier to track you there. That is why we are excited to announce the beta of App Tracking Protection for Android," the search engine informed.

After enabling App Tracking Protection, the DuckDuckGo app will detect when your Android apps are about to send data to third-party tracking companies found in our app tracker dataset, and block those requests.

App Tracking Protection is not a virtual private network (VPN), though your device will recognise it as one.

"However, App Tracking Protection is different from VPNs because it never routes app data through an external server," said DuckDuckGo, which has surpassed 100 million daily search queries.

Launched in 2008, DuckDuckGo's search engine is far behind Google but the latest controversies around user data privacy has helped it gain momentum like Telegram and Signal.

DuckDuckGo has been selected as the default search engine in the highly-secure chat platform Tor Browser, and is often the default search engine in the private browsing modes of several other browsers. -IANS

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