Privacy-focused tech company DuckDuckGo, which started life as a private search engine, is adding the ability to block hidden trackers to its Android app. It’S dubbed “App Tracking Protection for Android,” and is rolling out in beta from today. App Tracking Protection appears as an option in the settings menu of its Android app. “The idea is we block this data collection from happening from the apps the trackers don’t own,” says Peter Dolanjski, a director of product at DuckDuckGo. In fact, more than 96 percent of popular free Android apps contain trackers. These trackers monitor user’s behavior across different apps and help create profiles about what they buy, demographic data, and other information that can be used to serve personalized ads.
DuckDuckGo’s Dolanjski argues that there’s very little transparency around the trackers currently employed in the apps. These apps make continuosly tracking attempts in the background even when the phone is not used. Facebook and Google trackers will be the first to be blocked. Similar for Amazon, WarnerMedia, Adobe, McDonald. LinkedIn and advertising company Taboola. And more… The DuckDuckGo feature shows the total number of trackers blocked in the last week and gives a breakdown of what’s been blocked in each app recently. At the moment, the tracker blocker doesn’t show what data each tracker is trying to send but it will do it in the future. It’s said the company has found some trackers collecting exact GPS coordinates and email addresses.For the instant browsers aren’t included in the blockind tracker tool. DuckDuckGo must be installed from the Google Play Store.