DuckDuckGo is soon protecting you from most Microsoft scripts

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 5, 2022
Updated • Aug 5, 2022
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DuckDuckGo CEO and founder Gabriel Weinberg announced today that the company's apps and browser extensions will block Microsoft tracking scripts soon as well.

DuckDuckGo found itself at the center of a controversy in May when it was discovered that the company's privacy-focused products were not blocking Microsoft trackers.

DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser app does not block Microsoft trackers

Brave browser founder Brendan Eich called out DuckDuckGo for whitelisting Microsoft from the built-in tracking blocker of DuckDuckGo's privacy products.

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Weinberg announced today that DuckDuckGo's apps and extensions will block Microsoft scripts, just like the products are blocking Google, Facebook and other scripts that could be used for tracking purposes. The company's products will block scripts from Microsoft from loading on websites via the 3rd-Party Tracker Loading Protection feature.

DuckDuckGo plans to roll out the improvement in the next week across company products. Beta versions of the apps will get the protection in the coming months, according to Weinberg.

DuckDuckGo has a partnership with Microsoft. Microsoft provides the company with access to data from its Bing search engine. Weinberg notes that the Microsoft tracking exemption in DuckDuckGo's products was "due to a policy requirement". He notes that this policy is no longer in effect and that this has paved the way for the extension of the tracker blocking in the company's products.

DuckDuckGo did not embed Microsoft scripts on its website or in the company's applications or extensions.

Microsoft is DuckDuckGo's advertising partner as well. DuckDuckGo and Microsoft have an agreement that Microsoft won't use interactions with ad-clicks to profile users. Data is also not stored or shared, "other than for accounting purposes" according to Weinberg.

DuckDuckGo's applications won't block certain Microsoft scripts from running on third-party sites that are used for conversion tracking. The script is loaded on the target site after interaction with an ad to track conversions. Weinberg reveals that DuckDuckGo users may disable ads in the DuckDuckGo search settings to prevent this from happening.

DuckDuckgo plans to create a better solution for conversion tracking that replaces the current method.

To improve transparency, DuckDuckGo made its tracker protection list publicly available. Additionally, its products are showing more information in the privacy dashboard in regards to third-party requests.

Interested users may check out a new support page that provides details on the company's web tracking protections.

Closing Words

Weinberg does not provide specifics on how his company and Microsoft came to the new agreement and the removing of the user-unfriendly policy. Whether the controversy hurt DuckDuckgo's growth or reputation remains to be seen. It is clear that some users were not too happy with the revelation. It is difficult to earn trust, but easy to game it.

Now You: do you use DuckDuckGo Search or the company's other products?

Summary
DuckDuckGo is soon protecting you from most Microsoft scripts
Article Name
DuckDuckGo is soon protecting you from most Microsoft scripts
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DuckDuckGo CEO and founder Gabriel Weinberg announced today that the company's apps and browser extensions will block Microsoft tracking scripts soon as well. 
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Comments

  1. Anonymous said on August 5, 2022 at 9:02 pm
    Reply

    They still manipulate results, so there is no reason to use them, because they’ve become basically identical to Bing. Google, Brave, and Yandex have a good mix of results. There are more search engines being developed, DDG needs to go back to being an unbiased search engine or it will be left behind.

    1. right to an opinion said on August 7, 2022 at 5:21 am
      Reply

      I think all the big famous search engine are quite good as long as one doesn’t search on poly tick all in core rectum topics and I had to repost this one because it wasn’t let through for the first time so what does that tell about the free doomed lip eral who rld, thanks.

  2. Simon Taylor said on August 5, 2022 at 9:05 pm
    Reply

    Too late. Trust is like a first kiss. You don’t get a second chance at either a first kiss or broken trust. A lesson DDG needs to learn.

  3. Anonymous said on August 5, 2022 at 9:59 pm
    Reply

    The same Duckduckgo where the CEO admitted on twitter that they censor search results “for your own good” ?

    No thank you.

    1. Ivan said on August 6, 2022 at 2:49 pm
      Reply

      They downranked Russian propaganda and misinformation. That’s another plus in my book. I don’t want propaganda in my search results.

      1. Klaas Vaak said on August 6, 2022 at 5:59 pm
        Reply

        @Ivan: interesting. So, now that Russian propaganda is downranked you don’t get any propaganda anymore? ROFLMAO.

      2. piomiq said on August 7, 2022 at 1:42 am
        Reply

        For sure he meant Russian propaganda, and I suppose you knew it, but you manipulated his opinion saying “any propaganda”.

      3. Klaas Vaak said on August 7, 2022 at 4:50 am
        Reply

        @picmiq: I did not ask if he meant Russian prop, I even stated he did so read a comment well before you reply.

      4. Frankel said on August 7, 2022 at 1:56 pm
        Reply

        @Ivan
        Yes I want propaganda, because I need to know the narrative of the other side, even if it is a lie.

        Remember the quote about banning steaks because babies cannot chew it?

      5. Peterc said on August 8, 2022 at 8:20 pm
        Reply

        @Ivan:

        “I don’t want propaganda in my search results.”

        Translation: “I don’t want ‘news’ from ANYWHERE in my search results.”

        Read Ed Herman’s and Noam Chomsky’s 1988 classic, “Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media,” or, if you’re an AV-oriented kind of guy, check out the feature-film adaptation on YouTube. From my perspective (and that of any number of top-notch independent/dissident journalists, commentators, and media analysts), the propaganda model of journalism it describes has never been borne out more starkly than in Western mainstream media’s coverage of the Ukraine conflict. And by the way, while Noam Chomsky is a well-known “lefty” (by US standards), Ed Herman was the book’s primary author and he was a freaking professor of finance at the Wharton School of Business!

        It’s long been acknowledged that in times of war, the first casualty is truth, but I’ve reached the conclusion that almost ALL “news” — war-related or not, Western, Russian, or not — is propaganda, and that the only way to form a *possibly* vaguely accurate impression of what’s going on in the world is to consume propaganda from *all sides*, and then try to figure out who’s *lying* about what, who’s conveniently *omitting any mention* of what, and who’s telling the *truth* about what (which does sometimes happen!). Because so many major search engines have joined the “manufacturing consent” game, it’s now necessary to develop and curate your *own* list of diverse sources. I use an RSS reader for this purpose, and when I discover a new source with a hopefully different and “illuminating” point of view — which no longer happens very often as the result of doing a Web search — I add its feed.

        Bonus Illustration: When European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced a blanket ban on RT and Sputnik (and, apparently, a third outlet that no one ever seems to mention by name, unless they’re double-counting RT/Russia Today), it reminded me of when then-Secretary-of-State Hillary Clinton warned prospective State Department applicants to never visit Wikileaks (which contained a huge trove of secret State Department cables, many of them at odds with the US government’s official account of events for public consumption). The message is: “We don’t want you to see, hear, or read anything that contradicts what ‘our side’ tells you [‘our side’ meaning ‘us politicians and the interests we *actually* represent’]. We want you to believe whatever the people we approve of tell you and be docile, compliant, obedient, unthinking sheep. Look — just believe what we tell you and do as you’re told! Stupid EU citizens; stupid State Department grunts…” Sometimes I feel like we need an updated version of Country Joe and the Fish’s “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag.”

      6. humoured said on August 10, 2022 at 12:35 pm
        Reply

        in a time when RT’s editor-in-chief has taken her mask off and freely advocates “whatever happens, your duty is to support your country, your people, your army… . We’ll criticize once we win,” (source: https://twitter.com/CarlSchreck/status/1557267956048044032#m) the Russian info warriors here and elsewhere have to resort to pushing the lines of ‘all news services are propaganda, but boy oh boy what they’re broadcasting in the West is just the worst!’ & ‘what horrific censorship! Let The People decide for themselves if they want to fill their heads with (our) crap!’

        it’s rather pathetic

      7. Peterc said on August 10, 2022 at 6:10 pm
        Reply

        @humoured: I’m not sure how you made the leap from “all news is propaganda” to “Western news is the worst,” but I suppose it’s a useful straw-man argument for “Ukrainian info warriors.” Western news coverage of the Ukraine War is in fact the most slanted and propagandistic WESTERN coverage of *anything* I’ve seen in my lifetime — from the Vietnam War to 9/11 to the Iraq War to various US-sponsored coups in Latin America to the present — but that doesn’t mean I think Russian news is any less slanted and propagandistic. It’s only useful for reminding Western readers of certain key background facts that their own media *rarely* mention. That’s the whole point of “consuming” propaganda from *all* sides: it helps you form a fuller picture of what’s *actually* going on, and it doesn’t make you an “info warrior” for either side. Something here is indeed rather pathetic, but it’s not what *I* wrote.

      8. Bong said on October 18, 2022 at 2:19 pm
        Reply

        Right?

  4. Tachy said on August 6, 2022 at 12:18 am
    Reply

    What I need is a way to search with bing without letting it turn …

    This “https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11252248/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2”

    Into this…

    “https://www.bing.com/ck/a?!&&p=a7e413bcd500cbe7JmltdHM9MTY1OTczNzY0OCZpZ3VpZD0zMGVmYTliZC0zZGI2LTQ2NWUtYjVmYy02OWM5OGExMmI5NzgmaW5zaWQ9NTMxMg&ptn=3&hsh=3&fclid=ec80d7b9-150b-11ed-b71b-39f070a9c2cf&u=a1aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuaW1kYi5jb20vdGl0bGUvdHQxMTI1MjI0OC8&ntb=1”

  5. yanta said on August 6, 2022 at 1:24 am
    Reply

    It definately did hurt it’s reputation. It didn’t help either when DDG announced they would start censoring results.

    I changed my search engine at that point but the choice out there is terrible. Startpage and swisscows have so many issues they are essentially unusable.

    1. Ivan said on August 6, 2022 at 2:53 pm
      Reply

      You mean “censoring” Russian propaganda? I.e. downranking misinformation

      1. Herman Cost said on August 6, 2022 at 3:06 pm
        Reply

        No transparency, censorship, not for me.

      2. Klaas Vaak said on August 6, 2022 at 6:01 pm
        Reply

        @Ivan: you mean with Russian misinfo you don’t get any misinfo? You need to think again about the likes of Google and Bing search results, as well as those of DDG.

      3. Frankel said on August 7, 2022 at 1:58 pm
        Reply

        @Ivan
        How often will you make the same comment on the same page? I get it that some people feel safe in their censorship straightjacket. No conflicting information, when I don’t want to side with either party. It’s a useless war and everyone is losing as the economy crashes globally.

  6. Mystique said on August 6, 2022 at 5:54 am
    Reply

    You aren’t wrong about the search engine choice’s being terrible. They all fail for one reason or another. Searx.be is probably one of the better ones but keep in mind that you may need to go into the engines and enable more than just google and make sure your browser cookie settings or addons/extensions will not delete or block it or you will just keep on getting googles results and your settings won’t be saved.

    I just did a quick vague test using something notorious such as ‘the pirate bay’ to test the results.

    Obviously the google engine fails completely and will lead you down the wrong path but some others won’t.

    1. DrKnow said on August 7, 2022 at 7:53 pm
      Reply

      @Mystique
      If I search Google for “The Pirate Bay” the first result is for ‘something notorious’ as you called it.

  7. Coriy said on August 6, 2022 at 6:23 am
    Reply

    Since the uncovering of the Bing issue, I’ve used DDG only when I needed to do an image or general video search. For everything else, I’ve been getting good enough results from Peekier.com and the new engine on the block, Yep.com. I’ll give DDG’s android browser another go, after it’s been confirmed to have blocked Bing cookies. In all honest, I prefer Bromite, IceRaven and Vivaldi on Android, though Bromite suffers, a bit, from not having ClearURLs functionality.
    Yes, I’m giving DDG a third chance, but if they mess up again, it’s out.

    1. Kiwi_user said on August 6, 2022 at 12:54 pm
      Reply

      If on Android Kiwi Browser is the best! It can install Chrome Extensions that others can’t, oh wait Yandex Browser can install Extensions too.

      1. Jasmine Viccarro said on August 9, 2022 at 11:35 pm
        Reply

        Is the fear more of eroding of trust or of being “caught” either secondarily or at the third degree? It’s unclear what service DDG provides anymore.

  8. Derek Clements said on August 6, 2022 at 6:32 am
    Reply

    No, I’ve never trusted DDG since the start of the race. An alternative well worth considering is “metaGer”:

    https://metager.de/

    … And no, the “meta” prefix in the name predates and is unrelated to those sociopaths over at Meta/Facebook.

  9. Anonymous said on August 6, 2022 at 9:36 am
    Reply

    DDG, pretty much the reason they were doing that was because they are still Microsoft slaves, just like Qwant and most search engines using Bing API.
    So, why do people think DDG is so much better? I don’t know, they still share information with Microsoft like everyone else who decides to use Bing.

    DDG while being Bing, they also have their own indexer that they manipulate, so they are doing censorship on top of the already censored Bing.

    Also, let’s never forget how the the founder Berg was the one selling people’s information in 2006.

    Never forget how Android app was storing people’s url information in DDG server.

    Never forget that DDG hires based on race and gender and all that inclusive woke BS agenda, not based on skills.

    Already a partnership with Microsoft should be a red flag, but they also have many partnerships in their history that are just as bad.

    I don’t even believe DDG was whitelisting anything, nobody gave evidence about that apart from a text in DDG documentation. When someone did a test with iPad DDG app, it blocked the same scripts uBlock was blocking.
    But the issue I see here, is how some people probably will want to try DDG desktop browsers, but…. why? why do people want to support this fishy company with a terrible history of privacy and transparency so much? why are people even paying attention to these DDG clowns? They are like any other company, using the “privacy” as a marketing scheme and making people believe they are getting a better deal for using them.
    If they cared about making the web better, they wouldn’t even want to use Bing API or have a partnership with Microsoft, and they wouldn’t be censoring or deranking results based on political agendas.
    These DDG browsers are just ‘Webview type skin’ so you will people even be able to stop updating Microsoft Edge WebView2? and the browser will work fine? or are people forced then to give information to Microsoft, because Edge and WebView2 will be updated by the same updater?

    I don’t even know why people are waking up to the fact that DDG is nothing special, they have always used Bing, they are Microsoft slaves, they are like any other terrible silicone valley company that wants to control the internet and what people read, think and see. They use privacy to make people think they will get a better deal, somehow they got duck domain from Google like if Google was giving candy away…

    DDG has always been a fishy company, all they do is a red flag so I will never understand why it took so long for people to see it.

  10. Tom Hawack said on August 6, 2022 at 10:11 am
    Reply

    I do not and would not use DDG’s privacy-focused products, controversy or not. I’d only use a search engine’s privacy-focused products if that search engine proved to be totally independent of its third-party crawlers.

    I run six search engines, SearXNG, its [https://searx.tiekoetter.com/] instance, a metasearch engine which aggregates (user’s option) several, many search engines’ results. Note : I prefer the latest SearXNG instances to those of its searX ancestor) : have Bing, Google, DDG itself! and many more Web, Images, Videos, Files and several other specific categories all in one page and free of tracking, what more to ask for?

    DDG is nevertheless one of my five other search engines, not to mention two others called with smart keywords only here on Firefox : Qwant and a new one, QuackQuackGo at [https://quackquackgo.net/] or installed at [https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/quackquackgo/] which includes only Google Web results (no images, no videos), the latter mainly for the sake of comparing search results with other engines.

    To come back to a company’s privacy-focused products…. forget them and do focus, but with the ultimate IMO : ‘uBlock Origin’, the extension, nothing compares to it be it in terms of efficiency, probity.

    1. Ray said on August 6, 2022 at 9:44 pm
      Reply

      QuackQuackGo is new to me. Thanks Tom!

      I’ll add it to my Google backup list with Whoogle. The only worry I have is since QuackQuackGo uses the Google Custom Search Engine API, it would be possible for the owner of QQG to know your search results and to do something with it. The author has a Hacker News account and seems decent though at a glance.

      1. Tom Hawack said on August 7, 2022 at 12:26 am
        Reply

        @Ray, I mentioned QQG for information, not for promotion. Curiosity is as natural as it is an incentive to search for alternatives. Personally confidence is experienced only with 3D humans, and carefully granted, never on the Web. From there on, for those of us who adopt an expectancy attitude, neither hostile nor confident and given we do have to make choices, I guess there’s some sort of probability brain algorithm made up of rationalism and intuition which handles all that is not rejected nor adopted at first sight :) That is at least as far as I’m concerned. Then we try, test, inform ourselves … and our probability computation rises or declines, right?

        Anyway, about QQG, two points:

        1- You may have read on the extension’s AMO page a comment stating what you’ve certainly already discovered but which may interest other readers :

        ” Connects to [encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com] to retrieve sites’ thumbnails, so if either Google servers or thumbnails bother just block access to [encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com] with ‘uBlock Origin’ for instance.”

        2- You wrote, “The author has a Hacker News account and seems decent though at a glance.” : may I ask you how you’ve found that out? No info on the AMO page nor on the QQG’s site. That, again, is curiosity, pure and simple, untied to any form of decision nor to any vital requirement! Say, say, I’m eager to know, lol!

      2. Ray said on August 7, 2022 at 5:20 am
        Reply

        Through the Hacker News submission: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=32163035

      3. Tom Hawack said on August 7, 2022 at 1:07 pm
        Reply

        Roger (I mean Ray), we copy you on the ground. Thanks!

  11. TimH said on August 6, 2022 at 6:08 pm
    Reply

    “DuckDuckGo is soon protecting you from most Microsoft scripts”

    Most?

    1. Tom Hawack said on August 7, 2022 at 11:47 pm
      Reply

      @TimH, indeed “most” is not “all” : [https://www.theregister.com/2022/08/06/in_brief_security/]

  12. owl said on August 9, 2022 at 2:46 am
    Reply

    Recently, I learned about the existence of “Frea Search”.
    https://www.ghacks.net/2022/07/26/firefox-103-improved-toolbar-access-performance-and-more/#comment-4535670
    In all my current browsers (Safari, Brave, Floorp, LibreWolf, Firefox ESR, Firefox Developer Edition, Firefox Nightly, Tor Browser) and apps (Mozilla Thunderbird, Notepad++, PSPad, SumatraPDF, LibreOffice), I set as default search engine Frea Search.
    I’ve been using it for about two weeks now and am happy with the search results.

    The developers are Japanese high school students, and the website uses a lot of Japanese, but the English version is in progress.
    Their independently developed search engine, browser (Floorp), Linux distribution (AlexandriteOS) are not limited to Japan, but can be used in a global environment.

    Frea Search:
    Public instances
    https://freasearch.org/
    Preferences (With ?, GENERAL | USER INTERFACE | PRIVACY | ENGINES | SPECIAL QUERIES | COOKIES can be adjusted.)
    https://freasearch.org/preferences
    Source code
    https://git.sda1.net/frea/search
    Issue tracker
    https://git.sda1.net/frea/search/issues
    Engine stats
    https://freasearch.org/stats
    Privacy policy
    https://privacy.sda1.net/

    1. Ray said on August 10, 2022 at 8:41 pm
      Reply

      Thanks owl. Frea Search looks like a fork of SearXNG. Looks like they added a blocklist and the ability to return results as JSON, so this would be handy for developers.

      Not sure what else Frea has done as I just used Google Translate to read the readme. owl, if you know what other modifications the Frea team did, would be good to know.

      1. owl said on August 11, 2022 at 12:07 pm
        Reply

        @Ray,

        I am glad that you are interested in the Japanese made “Frea Search”!
        This search engine is based on “SearXNG” as you mentioned.
        Most of the homepages are currently written in Japanese, but search engines (and browsers, Linux distros, etc.) are linked to your system’s locale, so you can use them in your native language.

        > what other modifications the Frea team did, would be good to know.

        I am not a member of this developer, but from the information I have obtained (official blogs, etc.), I list it below:
        Frea Search is produced by Ablaze, a community of students (current high school students) in Japan.
        Ablaze
        https://ablaze.one/
        There are currently five projects at Ablaze.
        Projects / Ablaze
        https://ablaze.one/projects
        1. Floorp: Released
        Floorp is a new browser made in Japan that is redeveloped based on Firefox (discontinued from being development based on Chromium) and offers excellent privacy.
        2. Frea Search: beta release
        A custom instance of SearXNG aimed at being a search engine that shows only reliable and clean search results, without SEO spam blogs, auto-translated pages, etc.
        3. AlexandriteOS: Released
        Based on openSUSE tumbleweed, aim to be a modern and beautiful Linux distribution that pursues unified usability, best-in-class stability, security, and privacy.
        4. Kazane Project: Released
        Kazane Project is a character project by Ablaze. Currently, they are active with three characters, and they mainly promote Ablaze on the official Twitter.
        Contents
        You can download 3D models and materials. Please read the secondary creation guidelines carefully when using.
        5. [Fork]Pi App Manager: Released
        Pi App Manager is an optimized version of EG-Installer for SereneLinux (for Ubuntu), optimized for the armhf version of Debian. It can be used without installation.

        ——————–

        Excerpt from Frea Search’s official blog (Time series)
        2022/04/14
        [New Project] Introducing Frea Search, an Anti-Affiliate Search Engine
        https://blog.ablaze.one/1718/2022-04-19/

        2022/04/15
        Frea Search Pilot version Release Announcement | ABlog
        https://blog.ablaze.one/1747/2022-04-20/
        This is a prototype version, so please without hesitation to report any blocklist requests, feedback, etc.

        2022/04/21
        https://blog.ablaze.one/1757/2022-04-18/
        Added to select Frea Search as the default search engine for the Floorp browser!

        ——————–

        Frea Search
        Excerpt from README.md:

        About blocklist
        “searx/settings.yml at master”
        https://git.sda1.net/frea/search/src/branch/master/searx/settings.yml
        exists a list of search engine settings and sites to hide from search results. If you have a domain or question that you would like to add or remove from this list, please open issue or PR.
        Issues
        https://git.sda1.net/frea/search/issues
        Pull Requests
        https://git.sda1.net/frea/search/pulls

        API
        Frea Search comes with a completely free API. You can retrieve search results in json.

        Installation
        Please install curl, git, caddy and redis-server in advance.

        Are other http servers deprecated?
        Frea Search recommends using caddy for security, performance, and the aesthetics of the configuration file.
        You can do the same with nginx or Apache by setting Access-Control-Allow-Origin to https://assets.freasearch.org and writing a reverse proxy to localhost:8888. But make sure you do end-to-end encryption using something like certbot.

        What is assets.freasearch.org?
        https://assets.freasearch.org hosts files such as fonts and icons that cannot be included in this repository due to licensing restrictions. Ablaze.one (projects/freasearch) is currently preparing a solution for those who want to self-host these contents as well.

        About Cloudflare
        Because using Cloudflare “breaks the SSL trust model and also causes troubles with caching and page rewriting.”, Frea Search does not recommend Cloudflare and does not support.

        How to Update Instances
        A single command automatically pulls and applies changes from the Git repository.

        ——————–

        Ablaze Docs
        https://docs.ablaze.one/
        Privacy policy
        General terms of use

        ——————–

        Ablaze utilizes a variety of communication channels, including an Official blog, GitHub repository, Twitter, and e-mail, and also can communicate in English.
        Ablaze members want constructive communication with users.
        If you would like, you may contact the parties directly.

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