Privacy is a significant concern for people these days; even those who are normies and not in tune with the latest tech trends express privacy concerns. Big tech is run on the power of your data, and DuckDuckGo is working on the way to prevent your data from being collected.
DuckDuckGo already blocks trackers and does its best to protect your privacy within its app and desktop browser. But with its latest project, dubbed App Tracking Protection for Android, it aims to stop data collection across your entire Android device.
Unlike Apple, the company doesn’t own the infrastructure—the phones people use or the underlying operating systems—to enforce wholesale changes. Each time an app wants to track you, iOS presents you with a question: Do you want this app to track you? When you opt out, your device transmits the IDFA sent to advertisers as a series of zeros—essentially preventing them from tracking you. DuckDuckGo doesn’t have this luxury; its privacy browser app is installed on your phone like any other from the Google Play Store.
To make App Tracking Protection work, DuckDuckGo runs the same set of device permissions as a virtual private network (VPN). Dolanjski says that while Android phones will show the DuckDuckGo app as a VPN, it doesn’t work in this way: no data is transferred off your phone, and the network runs locally. In essence, the system blocks apps from making connections to the servers used for tracking. (When some trackers can’t communicate with their servers they will make repeated attempts to do so, Dolanjski says, which can cause certain tracker counts to swell within the app. He adds the company has seen no impact on battery life).
DuckDuckGo will not include some apps like browsers and mobile games in the data block as they require some data collection to function. DuckDuckGo may find itself in a battle as Google does have some control over Android, and they have not commented on the company’s efforts to block other apps data tracking abilities.