DuckDuckGo’s App Tracking Protection For Android
A Solution To Alphabet’s Voyeurism Addiction?
The latest $391M slap on the wrist for Google came about because they lead Android users to believe that by turning off Location History in your phone’s settings would disable location tracking. The problem is that another service called Web & App Activity does the same thing, and like Location History it is enabled by default. This misinformation was just the latest in a long litany of fines the company has paid because of their tracking obsessions. There might be a partial solution you can try out from DuckDuckGo.
Their App Tracking Protection, now available for any Android, device looks to replicate Apple’s recent App Tracking Transparency for anyone that installs their DuckDuckGo app. It is a combination of a VPN and a block list that will prevent third parties from tracking where you are and what you are doing via the apps installed on your phone. Thankfully it does so without needing to send any info to DuckDuckGo, your device just checks against their public block list instead of phoning home to find out if this tracker should be blocked.
When you are using the VPN it “looks at the destination domain for any outbound request and blocks them if they are in our blocklist and the requesting app is not owned by the same company that owns the domain.” This does mean that if you installed an app and allowed it to track your location, App Tracking Protection will not block that communication, only those headed off to third parties. Those third parties are the ones who financially benefit from harvesting your data without your knowledge, so it does help somewhat.
Ars Technica’s article has a link to the steps to install and configure App Tracking Protection, if you are interested.