Following the debacle, DuckDuckGo blocks Microsoft’s web trackers more often and opens the blocklist

Some trackers will still be allowed to measure ad conversions

DuckDuckGo delivers on its promise to correct a major misstep in its mission to boost privacy on the web. In May, researchers caught the company allowing Microsoft’s ad and analytics trackers through its mobile browsers and desktop browser extensions while blocking others. It was an act of hypocrisy, but also of necessity: DuckDuckGo signed with Microsoft as the main provider of results for its search engine and one of the stipulations of their contract required the passage of trackers from Bing and LinkedIn in the products DuckDuckGo. It now appears, however, that the contract has changed. Lots more has too.


The company says on his business blog (Going through BeepComputer) that its third-party tracker upload protection feature is it is no longer forbidden to block blocking Microsoft tracking scripts in several cases. Although already blocked in most cases and will be even more so, users who click on advertisements served by Microsoft through a DuckDuckGo search results page may see certain trackers from if they are integrated into the site that they are. to visit. Microsoft says it uses the data to count conversions from clicks to product purchases and does not create user profiles, dumping the data in 7 days. DuckDuckGo also continues to say that it does not include Microsoft tracking scripts in its products, a condition that has always been in place.

There is no reasonable expectation of complete privacy when someone is browsing the web, so the company is also taking the opportunity to announce that it has updated the privacy dashboard feature on its browsers and extensions to include logs for which third-party tracking requests have been approved and denied. and for what reasons, if any. The company is also making a list of its blocked trackers (including the last of 21 URLs from Microsoft) public via a GitHub repository and that it will shortly open the code to generate block list for Tracker Radar.

Also, it has opened a new section in its help pages which lists blocked trackers for which product – split between browser apps for Android, iOS/iPadOS and Mac, and extensions for Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Opera , and Safari. Different products have different blocking support due to differences in their operating system structure.

Going forward, DuckDuckGo hopes to implement an ad conversion tracking protocol that will keep data sharing to an absolute minimum while giving marketers the critical insights they need.

UPDATED: 2022/08/07 16:23 EST BY JULES WANG

Corrections and clarifications

DuckDuckGo reached out to Android Police to offer corrections and more context to our story as it was written.

  • Tracker Radar is the name of the feature that scours the internet to identify trackers. The upload protection feature of third-party trackers actually performs script blocks. We mistakenly referred to Tracker Radar as the feature that blocks script execution.
  • Prior to these announced changes, DuckDuckGo blocked many instances of Microsoft’s trackers – these often came from sites using tag managers like the one provided by Google Analytics to run batches of scripts from different sources. The 3PTLP feature already blocks Google Tag Manager. The company says it only saw a 0.25% increase in Microsoft script downtime after implementing the changes.
  • We’ve also included more context on when Microsoft’s trackers load in the story.
  • The company says users can opt out of ads in DuckDuckGo Search’s settings.

We unreservedly apologize to DuckDuckGo and our readers and acknowledge the errors.