Privacy-focused browser maker DuckDuckGo’s new tool aims to prevent apps from tracking Android users. The tool, called App Tracking Protection.
DuckDuckGo’s tool hasn’t been rolled out as part of an update to all Android phones, nor is it available as a separate download.
It’s built into DuckDuckGo’s privacy-focused browser app, but works across your device. In a post on its blog, the company said that the tool will block “trackers it identifies in other apps from third-party companies.”
Once App Tracking Protection is enabled, it will run in the background as you use your phone. The tool recognizes when an app is about to send data to a third-party tracker, and will then prevent the app from taking your information.
DuckDuckGo said that it’s “continually working to identify and protect against new trackers,” which means that your data should be kept away from any new trackers that crop up.
From the DuckDuckGo app, you should also be able to see a real-time view of trackers that the tool has blocked, along with where your data would’ve been going.
The company says that although its App Tracking Protection tool isn’t a virtual private network (VPN), your device will behave as if it is one.
“This is because App Tracking Protection uses a local ‘VPN connection’ which means that it works its magic right on your smartphone. However, App Tracking Protection is different from VPNs because it never routes app data through an external server,” DuckDuckGo explained in its post.
While conducting its own test, DuckDuckGo found that more than 96 per cent of some of the most popular free Android apps have third-party trackers that most users are unaware of.
As per The Verge, the company also discovered that 87 per cent of these apps send user data to Google, while 68 per cent send data to Facebook.