back to article DuckDuckGo tries to explain why its browsers won't block some Microsoft web trackers

DuckDuckGo promises privacy to users of its Android, iOS browsers, and macOS browsers – yet it allows certain data to flow from third-party websites to Microsoft-owned services. Security researcher Zach Edwards recently conducted an audit of DuckDuckGo's mobile browsers and found that, contrary to expectations, they do not …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    " contractual commitment to Microsoft "

    drawing power from the dark side...

    1. NoneSuch Silver badge
      Coat

      Screw that. I used, yes USED DuckDuckGo as my daily driver. I just swapped to Brave search.

      Protect my privacy by being in bed with Microsoft? Out the door they go.

      1. Tams

        And so you jumped onto Brave of all things...?

  2. vincent himpe

    we don't track*

    use us, everyone else is evil

    *except where contractually obligated.

    1. sad_loser

      The best defence

      is a good offense - in this case Ad Nauseum

      Someone is going to track you one way or another unless you go full VPN + TOR, so just poison their well.

      The best advert for its effectiveness = banned from the chrome store (but still installable)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They aren't a search company. It was either going to be google or Microsoft. I really don't understand how people never got that. If you want clean searching just use one in China or Russia etc... It's what I do every time some clown gets a super injunction or the press here is blocked from telling or showing us something.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Right

      adding the /s for the idea that China or Russia is giving you a clean search. The article literally mentions Bing was editing its results on behalf of china, like all other china bases search must do.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @AC - Re: Right

        Yeah, but China and Russia never tried to pretend they care about your privacy.

        There are times when I prefer an honest foe to a dishonest, cheating friend.

        1. karlkarl Silver badge

          Re: @AC - Right

          As a bonus, even though they might have all our data, their adverts still don't appear because we only get adverts from the west.

          So really, I certainly don't trust them more. But at this point in time, there is less damage / invasiveness that they can do and act upon with my data.

      2. Tams

        Re: Right

        For certain things they either don't give a shit about, or actively want to expose*.

        *these need to be taken with a grain of salt as they also like to exaggerate or just make stuff up.

        I wouldn't just say Yandex or Baidu for anything Uighurs or Ukraine, but I would on, as mentioned, a superinjunction in a Western country.

  4. tip pc Silver badge
    FAIL

    You can’t trust DuckDuckGo

    there are some trackers (scripts used for tracking) that DuckDuckGo's browsers do not block due to contractual commitments with Microsoft.

    That should be a pop up every time a page invokes a script DuckDuckGo won’t block.

    1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

      Re: You can’t trust DuckDuckGo

      I forecast a pop up storm.

    2. iron Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: You can’t trust DuckDuckGo

      Just what we in IT need, more useless dialogs teaching users just to click OK to make it go away. And then we wonder why they can't tell us what they did that broke everything.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: You can’t trust DuckDuckGo

        Or that gets dismissed without being seen because the user was typing something when the idiotic modal dialog was mapped and stole the keyboard focus.

        The WIMP UIM is an unfixable mess, with dire failure modes. Some day perhaps designers will admit that. Not holding my breath, though.

  5. pluraquanta

    Googleless and Un-Binged

    The only alternative right now is Mojeek (as in no Google or Bing results), but their indexing engine is quite weak and the site itself doesn't have many filtering controls.

    Qwant has a much better indexer but it's only used to supplement Bing for now. Hopefully they'll both keep improving and we can someday have a clean way of searching the web.

    1. Andraž 'ruskie' Levstik

      Re: Googleless and Un-Binged

      Startpage for me.

      1. pluraquanta

        Re: Googleless and Un-Binged

        That is a very good option, but it still has the same problem as DuckDuckGo and the others, it pulls all its results from Google. It is a lot better than using Google directly because there's no tracking or search shaping, but is still entirely dependent on them and how their algorithms define their index.

        Maybe the solution is to split up the problem. Have a government funded crawler that builds an unsorted index, then give access to anyone who wants to build their own engine from it. The heavy lifting of building a search engine is trawling the internet for all the data in the first place, that's why only Google and Microsoft (and rumouredly Apple) can afford to.

        1. steelpillow Silver badge

          Wayback Machine

          The Wayback Machine is searchable. Maybe a bit of a speed and usability upgrade is all that is needed.

    2. firey

      Re: Googleless and Un-Binged

      This issue is nothing to do with duckduckgo search - that doesn't use trackers - it's only relevant if you're using the duckduckgo *browser*.

      Think of the "Enhanced Tracking Protection" in firefox where it identifies & blocks known trackers - the duckduckgo browser doesn't actively block MS's trackers.

      1. pluraquanta

        Re: Googleless and Un-Binged

        Technically yes, but the reason is *because* they're using Bing. That's my point. In order to get access to Bing's index they're contractually obligated to allow Microsoft's tracking scripts.

  6. Winkypop Silver badge
    Terminator

    These are not the scripts you are looking for

    These are not the scripts we are looking for

  7. Ilgaz

    What about Microsoft?

    They are trying to position themselves as "nice guys" and "nice vendor of chromium" and they exploit their agreement with a search vendor.

    They did harm both to themselves and competitor of their arch enemy. Let me guess, this agreement was done in Ballmer era?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Et tu, Brute?

    or fool me (only) once...

  9. EricB123 Bronze badge

    Better than Ezra, I mean Google

    This article is indeed discouraging, but not surprising. In fairness to DuckDuckGo, since I switched from Google search I have noticed a huge drop in creepy ads. So for now I will stay with DuckDuckGo.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Better than Ezra, I mean Google

      The article is talking about their browser not their web site.

    2. iron Silver badge

      Re: Better than Ezra, I mean Google

      You know if you installed UBlock Origin you would see a huge drop in all ads. I literally don't remember the last time I saw an advert that wasn't during a video on YouTube. I think it's been maybe a decade or more.

      With the added bonus that if they don't exist then they can't track me, install malware or piss me off with flashy graphics and sound like those old hit the monkey banners - one of the last ads I remember seeing!

      1. stiine Silver badge

        Re: Better than Ezra, I mean Google

        Don't be fooled, they can still track you, but it takes more effort.

  10. Zarno
    Coat

    Well that's Duck Duck Gone

    Guess someone got their goose?

    Mine's the one with the tracking tag sewn into the hem, because the work shirts at a prior job had that for the industrial laundry...

  11. VicMortimer
    FAIL

    I was always suspicious of their browser. Turns out I was right.

    As always, the best solution is still Firefox + uBlock + NoScript.

  12. Gerlad Dreisewerd

    This is a surprise?

    Duckduckgo made its chops on honest search results and private browsing. I kicked them out when they abandoned both.

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. DenTheMan

    Always was GoBingGo.

    The privacy thing always looked a ruse to feed Bing.

    I know it used other sources but those other sources always appeared to be less than 1% of required results.

  15. Tams

    Why is any surprised about this?

    If you use DuckDuckGo because of privacy concerns, surely you'd know it's pretty much just a customised version of Bing? And from that worked out that there would almost certainly need to be some allowances for Microsoft? I mean, you'd have done the research into that right? Because you care about your privacy so.

    Oh, they're all fluff and are just lazy. Sorry, forgot about that.

  16. steviebuk Silver badge

    They are now a dead duck in Washington

    Yes that is a Columbo quote.

    I was using their search to keep away from google etc but their results were always spotty. Eventually I gave up with their own search. Now appears I'll never trust their browser again.

    Cunts.

  17. teri_ma

    Who is next?

    Firefox? Is privacy something you can measure?

  18. teri_ma

    Fell for it!

    You can see good search results, but can you measure privacy after all?

  19. Beach pebble
    Go

    There is this option: https://www.qwant.com/

    European engine

    No advertising tracking

    Respectful privacy

  20. Scott 53

    These are not just data trackers

    These are MS data trackers

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