DuckDuckGo's New Features Can Prevent Apps from Tracking Android User Data

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Once known to prevent tracking while browsing, a new feature of DuckDuckGo can now prevent apps from tracking Android users.

Called App Tracking Protection, it's similar to Apple's App Tracking Transperancy, only simpler. The feature gives users the option to secure their data from app tracking.

However, the new feature of DuckDuckGo is not yet rolled out in a new version for all Androids. Also not yet available as a separate download. The feature was built within the privacy-focused browser app DuckDuckGo, but it works across your devices.

Through an announcement on its website, the company said that the feature would block trackers identified in other apps from third-party companies.

Once App Tracking Protection is activated, it will run in the background while you are using your smartphone. This feature quickly recognizes when an app is about to send data to a third-party tracker, and will then prevent the app from retrieving your information.

DuckDuckGo says its feature works to identify and protect new tracker data. This means that your data is kept away from the new trackers that appear. From the DuckDuckGo app, you can also see a real-time view of trackers that have been blocked by the feature, along with where your data will be sent.

Credit: DuckDuckGo
The company says that even though the App Tracking Protection feature is not a virtual private network (VPN), your smartphone will behave as if it were a VPN.

"This is because App Tracking Protection uses a 'local VPN connection' which means it works well on your smartphone," explains DuckDuckGo in his post. “However, App Tracking Protection differs from a VPN in that it never routes app data through an external server.”

Right now, the feature is still in beta, but you guys can give it a try. To register, download DuckDuckGo from the Google Play Store, and open the app. Hit “Settings” followed by “App Tracking Protection” in “Privacy.” From there, select "Join the Private Waitlist."

During a test run, DuckDuckGo found that more than 96 percent of some of the most popular free Android apps had third-party trackers that most users weren't aware of.

The company also found that 87 percent of these apps send user data to Google, while 68 percent send data to Facebook.

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