DuckDuckGo offers new privacy extension and app

DuckDuckGo, the company behind the eponymous privacy-minded Internet search engine, has announced a new browser extension and mobile app: DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials.

duckduckgo privacy app

DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials does four things:

  • It makes DuckDuckGo the default search engine (this features is optional – it can be switched off).
  • Forces websites to serve users with an encrypted version (i.e., HTTPS version) of the site – if it’s available.
  • Blocks all hidden, third-party trackers it can find and provides users with a list of them.
  • Provides information about website’s terms of service and privacy policies.

That last feature is based on the scores and analysis results by the Terms of Service Didn’t Read (TOSDR) service and, unfortunately, the results might be incomplete and outdated. DuckDuckGo founder Gabriel Weinberg says that they are working with TOSDR to help them to rate and label as many websites as possible.

“Once you start using the new app and browser extension, you’ll quickly notice something: hardly any website currently gets an ‘A’ on privacy. That’s because hardly any website out there truly prioritizes your privacy,” Weinberg noted.

The goal of the extension/app is to make it visible to users which sites track them and how, and which sites care about user privacy.

“As more people start taking their privacy back online, the companies who make money off our personal information will be put on more notice, and we’ll collectively raise the Internet’s privacy grade, ending the widespread use of invasive tracking,” he hopes.

The new extension and app are available for Firefox, Safari, Chrome, iOS, and Android. They are open source, and the code is available on GitHub.