DuckDuckGo Wants to Stop Apps From Tracking You on Android

In the end in April, Apple’s introduction of App Tracking Transparency tools shaking the advertising industry at its core. IPhone and iPad owners can now stop apps from tracking their behavior and using their data for personalized advertising. Since the new privacy controls were launched, it’s been nearly $ 10 billion eliminated from revenues on Snap, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube on the Meta Platform.

Now, a similar tool is coming to Google’s Android operating system — though not from Google itself. Tech company that focuses on privacy DuckDuckGo, beginning life as a private search engine, is to add the ability to block hidden trackers in its Android app. The feature, called “App Tracking Protection for Android,” is acting outdoors in beta from now on and aims to mimic Apple’s iOS controls. “The idea is that we’re blocking this data collection from apps that don’t own the trackers,” said Peter Dolanjski, a product director at DuckDuckGo. “You need to see fewer scary ads following you online.”

Most apps have third-party trackers hidden in their code. These trackers monitor your behavior across various apps and help create profiles about you that can include your purchases, demographic data, and other information that can be used to serve you personal ads. . DuckDuckGo says its analysis of popular free Android apps shows that more than 96 percent of them have trackers. Blocking these trackers means that Facebook and Google, whose trackers are some of the most popular, can’t send data back to motherhood — nor are many advertising networks you’ve heard of.

From the user’s perspective, blocking trackers using the DuckDuckGo tool is straightforward. App Tracking Protection appears as an option in the settings menu of its Android app. For now, you will see the option to get the waitlist to access it. But once turned on, the feature shows the total number of trackers that were blocked in the past week and provides a breakdown of what was blocked in each app recently. Open the app at Daily Mail, one of the world’s largest news websites, and DuckDuckGo will immediately register that it has blocked trackers from Google, Amazon, WarnerMedia, Adobe, and advertising company Taboola. An example from DuckDuckGo shows that more than 60 apps tracked a test phone thousands of times in the past seven days.

My own experience proves that. Using a box-fresh Google Pixel 6 Pro, I installed 36 popular free apps — a few claims people install about 40 apps on their phones — and log in to almost half of them. These include the McDonald’s app, LinkedIn, Facebook, Amazon, and BBC Sounds. Then, with a preview of DuckDuckGo’s Android tracker blocking turned on, I left the phone alone for four days and never used it again. In 96 hours, 23 of these apps performed more than 630 background tracking tests.

Using your phone every day — opening and interacting with apps — will see more tracking attempts. When I opened the McDonald’s app, trackers from Adobe, cloud software firm New Relic, Google, emotion-tracking firm Apptentive, and mobile analytics company Kochava tried to collect data about me. Opening eBay and Uber apps — but not logging into them — is enough to trigger Google trackers.

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