After a revelation in May that DuckDuckGo's privacy focused web browser allows Microsoft tracking script on third-party websites, the company now says it will start blocking those as well. DuckDuckGo's browser had third-party tracker loading protection by default that already blocked script embedded on websites from Facebook, but until now Microsoft's script from the Bing and LinkedIn domains had a pass.
The exclusion that was uncovered while auditing the browser's privacy claims is especially curious since Microsoft is the partner that delivers ads in the search engine and promises not to use that data to create a monitored profile of users.
The reason for it was a search agreement with Microsoft and more updates on third-party tracker preventions were coming. Some seized on DuckDuckGo's own words that " tracking is tracking," a phrase the company used against "privacy sandbox" ad technology.
Weinberg wrote in a post that he heard from a number of users that they didn't meet their expectations around one of our browser's web tracking protections. DuckDuckGo is going to be more transparent about what trackers it protects from, making its tracker blocklists available, and giving users more information about how it protects them.
Kamyl Bazbaz, the company's VP of communications, claimed in an email that most Microsoft scripts were already being blocked by the browser's other protections.
It won't block scripts for bat.bing.com that load directly after a user clicks on one ofDDG's search ads, which it says are used on advertisers' websites to measure ad effectiveness. DuckDuckGo will block Microsoft's script in all other contexts. Users have the option of disabling ads in the DuckDuckGo search settings. The company says that it is working on non-profiling tech to replace the script, but that is not ready yet.
DuckDuckGo continues to focus on the data they scoop up from its various products, and the fact that most of the revenue comes from advertising.
There are more reasons to keep an eye on Microsoft's advertising efforts. It makes billions of dollars from internet advertising and built an ad tech giant that can reach over 1 billion people. DuckDuckGo will have to keep proving that it protects users more than other browsers if it wants to be taken seriously.
The bat.bing.com script can be loaded directly after clicking an ad, but not in other instances.