DuckDuckGo is launching a new feature for its Android app that blocks third-party trackers called App Tracking Protection. Currently in beta, the tool essentially aims to achieve what Apple’s App Tracking Transparency has done but for Android devices instead.
This is because the company claimed that no such feature was made available for Android even though the majority of users in the world rely on devices powered by the operating system. DuckDuckGo also said that over 96% of the popular free Android apps that it has tested contained hidden trackers.
Despite being part of the DuckDuckGo app, the privacy tool will work across your entire device as it runs in the background. How it works is that when DuckDuckGo detects an app on your phone is about to send out data to third-party tracking companies in their dataset, it will proceed to block that action.
You will also be able to use DuckDuckGo’s real-time tracker to see which apps are being blocked from sending your data and how many times each one has tried doing so. DuckDuckGo says that it’s not a virtual private network (VPN), but your phone will recognise the anti-tracking feature as one even though it doesn’t route app data through an external server. If you want to allow certain apps to track you, you can still do so.
If DuckDuckGo’s tool works as well as Apple’s, then advertisers should prepare to be hit hard, especially considering that the app has more than 10 million downloads on the Google Play Store. You can join the private beta waitlist for App Tracking Protection by installing the DuckDuckGo app and finding the feature in the settings.