DuckDuckGo introduces App Tracking Protection for Android

With the new beta feature, the search engine blocks third-party trackers from Google or Facebook on Android apps. There are parallels to Apple’s App Tracking Transparency.

Hidden third party trackers may be hidden in many of the apps you use on Android. Such trackers collect various usage data – sometimes even when you are not actively using the app. This data can be passed on to various third parties and the advertising networks of Google and Metas Facebook create more comprehensive profiles. But the data protection-centric search engine company DuckDuckGo (DDG) wants to curb the immense data collection. That’s why DDG is now launching the Tracking Protection app for Android in the beta version. This feature is integrated directly into the DuckDuckGo Android app and identifies third-party trackers from other companies in various Android apps.

96 percent of tested Android apps contain hidden third party trackers

In spring 2021, Apple will already introduce a tracking hurdle in the iOS cosmos with the Tracking Transparency app. Google also announced in June that it would make tracking on Android more difficult. However, the tracking opt-out for users is based on an active opt-out, unlike Apple.

DuckDuckGo now reacts itself with the Tracking Protection app. After all, 96 percent of the popular apps checked by DDG contained hidden third-party trackers. This data is based on a Ranking from

© DuckDuckGo

If you have the DuckDuckGo Android app, you can select the Tracking Protection app in the settings and put yourself on the waiting list. Only then can you get access to the beta version of the feature. Users do not have to share any data to join the whitelist.

If the protection is activated, the DuckDuckGo app indicates when trackers want to send user data to third parties. These send requests are then blocked. This means that users can use their apps without inadvertently passing on data while the app tracking protection is running in the background. The feature is not a Virtual Private Network (VPN), but relies on a local VPN connection. No app data is passed on to an external app server. In the DDG app, users can see in real time how many tracking requests have been blocked and where the data should have gone. If notifications are switched on, users will also receive summaries of the tracking attempts. You can also turn off the function for individual apps.

© DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo not only relies on a data protection-centric search, but also wants to design mobile use as far as possible so that there is no enormous tracking in the Android area. It is still unclear when the feature will be fully rolled out for all users.

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