DuckDuckGo Mobile App Tracking Protection

DuckDuckGo says it is privacy focussed and doesn't track you when you use it to search.

That may be true but it's search is just not as useful as Google's, and I'm logged into Google so I don't mind Google knowing what I've searched.

It's browser (mobile, desktop etc) has, they say, tech that removes the tracking across your web browsing from places like Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft etc. 

Again, probably true and certainly something they've been very active and vocal about for a number of years. And yet Chrome and many others now have similar tech built-in as these are features that anyone (when they want, or are forced) can add in.

Mobile apps tracking ... now, I don't know what Apples iOS currently stops or allows people to stop (tyranny of the default, how's it handling that) but in Android it's fairly open slather - and it's hidden away.

Enter the DuckDuckGo web browser app and it's wicked 'add-on', the genius App Tracking Protection (beta) that is absolutely doing it for me.

In the background it's creates a local VPN that all phone data goes through and, if it's a piece tracking data (cookie, location, etc), it gets blocked.  

If you're using Android (Samsung, Huawei, Pixel, Oppo, in fact everything that's not made by Apple) give it a go:
  • Download DuckDuckGo for  Android  (or update to the latest version 5.143.1).
  • Open Settings > App Tracking Protection (in the More from DuckDuckGo section).
  • Go through the onboarding (including allowing the VPN connection) and you’re all set!
Give it, oh I dunno, 30 mins, and go back to see what it's blocked and from which apps that are working in the background to see what you use and where you are.

If you use the Reddit app don't wait 30 mins, just watch in real time the thousand of background cookies trying to get through.
Yes, I uninstalled Reddit as soon as I saw this!

It's interesting to see what companies think they need and how often. In my experience it's almost always third party trackers asking for the data that, I assume, is fed back to their clients in the form of pretty graphs etc. I also suspect that the trackers grab everything they can even if the client hasn't asked for it (or even knows that their apps are grabbing it).

For instance, GeoNet, does it need to know my operating system version, not really. However Urban Airship via the GeoNet app is trying to collect it.
Wanna see what Google is collecting via my BNZ banking app, well it's trying to but good ol' DuckDuckGo App Tracking Protection is stopping it getting out.
I wonder why the BNZ need to have all that, or maybe they don't know Google is collecting it all, via their banking app?!

Oh, and if you want, you can use the DuckDuckGo app as a web browser, which is what it really is.


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