DuckDuckGo has added additional protection against Microsoft tracking, addressing concerns that were raised in May.
DuckDuckGo is one of the leading privacy-oriented companies, providing a suite of apps and services that help users protect their privacy online. Despite blocking the vast majority of Microsoft trackers, researchers discovered in May that a very small percentage of Microsoft’s trackers were not blocked under some circumstances.
DuckDuckGo has been working hard to address the issue and will be rolling out additional protections over the next week to block even more Microsoft trackers, specifically those loaded by third-party websites.
CEO Gabriel Weinberg outlined the steps the company is taking:
Over the next week, we will expand the third-party tracking scripts we block from loading on websites to include scripts from Microsoft in our browsing apps (iOS and Android) and our browser extensions (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge and Opera), with beta apps to follow in the coming month. This expands our 3rd-Party Tracker Loading Protection, which blocks identified tracking scripts from Facebook, Google, and other companies from loading on third-party websites, to now include third-party Microsoft tracking scripts. This web tracking protection is not offered by most other popular browsers by default and sits on top of many other DuckDuckGo protections.
Interestingly, because of the method used to load Microsoft trackers, the number of additional ads being blocked is very small.
“Prior to this update, we were already blocking most MSFT scripts from loading and further restricting Microsoft tracking through our other web tracking protections, like blocking Microsoft’s third-party cookies in our browsers,” a company spokesperson told WPN. “Often websites use tag managers to load multiple other scripts, the most popular one is Google Tag manager. Since most Microsoft scripts load through tag managers, those requests were already being blocked by 3rd Party Tracker Loading Protection before this update. In fact, we ran a test to see how much more blocking is happening as a result of this new update and based on the top 1,000 websites we found the increase was only 0.25%.”
The company’s findings illustrate how effectively it was already blocking Microsoft’s trackers and how overblown the initial concerns were.
Even so, with these latest rounds of improvements, DuckDuckGo has cemented its reputation, offering better out-of-the-box privacy than Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and others.