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DuckDuckGo allows all Android users to block trackers in apps

Android users worldwide are now able to block third-party trackers across all their installed apps – the App Tracking Protection feature of DuckDuckGo for Android, a popular privacy-focused web browser, has reached open beta.

The DuckDuckGo for Android app is a privacy-focused search engine and data protection utility that has already been downloaded over 10 million times from Google Play.

The app is attractive to many because it includes numerous privacy features – search term anonymity, email tracker protection, hidden tracker blocking, auto-HTTPS, and one-tap browsing history clearing.

By blocking third-party tracking scripts in other Android apps installed on the device, App Tracking Protection aims to increase privacy throughout the entire operating system.

"It's a free feature in the DuckDuckGo Android app that helps block 3rd-party trackers in the apps on your phone (like Google snooping in your weather app) – meaning more comprehensive privacy and less creepy targeting," DuckDuckGo announced.

The new version of App Tracking Protection lets Android users see exactly what trackers are blocked and what type of information they are targeting.

It’s comparable to Apple's App Tracking Transparency feature. But DuckDuckGo's system does not depend on the app developers' compliance with user choice.

According to DuckDuckGo, Android users have an average of 35 apps installed on their devices. This supposedly generates between a thousand and 2,000 tracking attempts daily for over 70 tracking companies.

The App Tracking Protection promises to block all these attempts in the background while the users regularly browse the web, play games, or check various other apps. DuckDuckGo says that the blocking doesn’t cause a noticeable impact on device performance.

The feature works by configuring the DuckDuckGo for Android app as a VPN on the device. It allows the app to filter traffic from other apps and block trackers but does not provide anonymity and is only used locally.

If Android users want to check out how threatening each app is to their privacy, they can also use App Tracking Protection’s real-time view to see what trackers are loaded and blocked.

At the end of the day, it’s clear App Tracking Protection is a powerful tool. But one should remember that the feature is still in the beta stage of development, so it may cause performance issues or miss some trackers.

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