Microsoft trackers go against DuckDuckGo, added to blocklist

Aurich Lawson

Privacy-conscious research firm DuckDuckGo says it will block Microsoft trackers in his desktop web browserfollowing revelations in May that some Bing and LinkedIn scripts were getting a pass.

In a blog postDuckDuckGo founder Gabriel Weinberg says he’s heard user concerns since security researcher Zach Edwards’ yarn that “we failed to meet their expectations regarding one of our browser’s web tracking protections”. Weinberg says that over the next week, the company’s browser will add Microsoft to the list of third-party tracking scripts blocked by its mobile and desktop browsers, along with extensions for other browsers.

“Previously, we were limited in how we could apply our third-party tracker loading protection on Microsoft tracking scripts due to a policy requirement related to our use of Bing as a source for our private search results,” writes Weinberg. “We’re glad that’s no longer the case. We haven’t had, and don’t have, a similar limitation with any other company.”

There are a lot of ubiquitous credentials that load on most modern web pages. The problem in DuckDuckGo’s apps was its default blocking of scripts from companies like Facebook and Google loading on third-party websites. DuckDuckGo, which uses Microsoft’s Bing as one of its sources for search results, had to allow some of Microsoft’s trackers to load “due to a policy requirement”. In a Reddit reply At the time of the disclosure, Weinberg noted Microsoft’s trackers were still blocked in most ways, such as using third-party cookies to fingerprint visitors.

However, there’s more to the delicate dance between DuckDuckGo and Microsoft than just trackers. Microsoft also provides advertisements that run on DuckDuckGo search results. To allow advertisers to see when someone has clicked on an ad on DuckDuckGo and landed on their page, DuckDuckGo apps will not block requests for bat.bing.com. Weinberg notes that you can avoid this by disable ads in DuckDuckGo search entirely. The company is working to validate ads in a non-traceable way, Weinberg writes, similar to similar efforts by Safari and firefox.

Finally, DuckDuckGo aims to be more open about blocking its tracker. The company is committed tracker block list in a public GitHub repository yesterday and published a new help document on its tracking protections.

It might seem like a lot of work on two scripts, but then DuckDuckGo lives in the delicate balance of trying to make its search product practical and relevant while giving its users as much privacy as websites can handle before breaking . And the 15-year-old Paoli, Pa.-based company can’t just leave Bing behind. Weinberg noted in his Response from May Reddit that most of its traditional search results and images come from Bing. “In reality, only two companies (Google and Microsoft) have a global high-quality web link index” because of the billion-dollar cost, Weinberg wrote. Every company that wants to offer research services in the world faces a duopoly or a very long journey.

Microsoft, meanwhile, continues to expand its ad markets, most recently to netflixand possibly in its own operating system. His ad revenue reached $3 billion for the quarter ending June 30, a 15% year-over-year increase, but the lowest growth rate in over a year.

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