DuckDuckGo Isn’t as Private as You Think

After another week of dismally tragic news and moral failures by the powerful, it’s good to know that you can at least depend on the small things, like “privacy-focused” search engine and browser DuckDuckGo resisting the temptation to sell out and help corporations to surveil its users. Oh, wait.

Yes, a security researcher revealed this week that even DuckDuckGo, which markets itself as “the internet privacy company,” made an exception for its business partner Microsoft to its browser’s blocking of some advertising trackers on websites, sparking accusations of betraying its purported privacy ethos. The milkshake-ducking of DuckDuckGo comes amid a rising awareness of how the stakes of online surveillance are rising as signs grow that the US Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade’s protections on abortion rights: A new report this week from the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project laid out all the technological means available to law enforcement and private litigants to surveil those seeking abortions, should Roe be struck down. And more than 40 members of Congress called on Google to stop tracking location data in Android ahead of a potential Roe reversal.

In other privacy news, we looked at how the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation has failed to meaningfully curb Big Tech’s privacy abuses four years after its passage. Australia’s digital driver’s licenses turn out to be far too easy to forge. China has been saber-rattling with accusations about American cyberespionage. We spoke to the inventor of the browser “cookie” about how to handle cookie settings for privacy—and those ubiquitous cookie-related pop-ups on websites. And we also interviewed the CEO of Protonmail, now rebranded as just Proton, about its ambitions to offer a broader range of privacy-focused services beyond email—hopefully without, ahem, surveillance exceptions for its business partners.

But there’s more. As usual, we’ve rounded up all the news that we didn’t break or cover in-depth this week. Click on the headlines to read the full stories. And stay safe out there.

Cybersecurity and privacy researcher Zach Edwards discovered a glaring hole in the privacy protections of…