DuckDuckGo launches App Tracking Protection Beta Tool for all Android users

Privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo has launched its app tracking protection tool for public beta testing on all android devices. The app tracking tool was initially launched in November 2021 as a limited beta on DuckDuckGo’s mobile browser. The tool blocks all third-party trackers within Android Apps, thus could reduce the number of specific ads we see online. The search engine positions itself like Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT), but more powerful. However, DuckDuckGo believes the latter may not be the best. According to Kamyl Bazbaz, Vice President of Communications, DuckDuckGo, Apple’s transparency tool is limited to blocking a user’s identifier for advertisers, while DuckDuckGo not only blocks third-party trackers within apps but even when those apps are not being actively used.

A new feature has been added to the App Tracking Protection tool, allowing users to see what personal data trackers collect in real-time before blocking them. Users could see their personal information, including age, precise location, time zone, local internet provider, language, smartphone model, and screen resolution, to name a few.

Source- Spread Privacy- The Official DuckDuckGo Blog

Users can now try out the App Tracking Protection feature by downloading it from the Google Play Store or updating their Android phone app to the latest version. To activate the protection feature, users need to open settings, select ‘App Tracking Protection’ and follow the instructions shown below.

Also Read: Google Chrome extensions that steal your data: McAfee

Source- Spread Privacy- The Official DuckDuckGo Blog

DuckDuckGo’s App Tracking Protection tool works by configuring DuckDuckGo Android app as a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on the device, enabling the app to filter traffic from other apps and block trackers. The App Tracking Protection uses a local VPN connection which, according to DuckDuckGo, works like magic on a smartphone, sending no data to itself or any remote servers.

In the blog announcing the App Tracking Protection Beta tool rollout, DuckDuckGo claims that the average Android user has over 35 apps on their smartphone and can experience between 1,000 to 2,000 tracking attempts from more than 70 different companies each day. Thus, allowing tracking companies to collect user data. This information can be sold to advertisers, the government, or even data brokers.

Keep in mind there is still plenty of work to be done on the protection tool. Users should remember that the feature is still in the beta stage. According to DuckDuckGo’s blog, there are a few third-party trackers that the search engine giant might not be aware of that they need to add to the block list. Some users may experience other apps not functioning like they are supposed to because of the beta stage of development. Some trackers may remain undetected, and the beta version may lead to performance issues. Therefore, the company is asking its users to share any feedback so it can improve the App Tracking Protection tool. Users can open the menu to share feedback, select ‘Settings’ and click ‘Share Feedback’.

Suppose users run into issues with another app on their phone because of the tracking protection tool. In that case, DuckDuckGo recommends disabling the feature by clicking “Having Problems with An App” in the app.

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