Analysts discovered DuckDuckGo allowing Microsoft to track users

Security Analysts DuckDuckGo Microsoft User Tracking Dark Web Search Engine

The popular search engine DuckDuckGo, which has claimed maximum browsing privacy for its users, reportedly allows Microsoft trackers on third-party websites. This report is discovered from an agreement between the two tech firms about their syndicated search content contract.

DuckDuckGo had long assured its users of a private browsing experience, including not allowing trackers to detect users’ online behaviour. Usually, other mainstream browsers allow third-party trackers to identify users’ activities online to serve them with specific and targeted ads based on their demographic.

However, for DuckDuckGo, it uses contextual ads coming from its partners, like Microsoft Ads. Microsoft advertising could track users’ IP addresses and other data when users click on an ad link. The firm said that this specific tracking is for accounting reasons and is not linked with profiling users.


During a security audit on DuckDuckGo, analysts found that it allows Microsoft trackers to continue running.


Several other sites, such as Google and Facebook, were blocked by DuckDuckGo in tracking user activities. However, the security researchers discovered that the search engine allowed Microsoft to continue running despite blocking other site trackers.

This discovery pushed the analyst to post a statement toward DuckDuckGo’s administrators. Its CEO and Founder have confirmed as a response, stating that the firm had intentionally allowed Microsoft trackers because of a contract under the search syndication agreement with the Redmond firm.

In a series of tweets, the CEO also explained that their partnership with Microsoft, alongside their search syndication agreement, had prevented them from blocking other factors from any Microsoft-owned properties. It caused quite an expected uproar from users, especially since the firm had not planned to disclose this information to the public until a security analyst found out about it.

Nevertheless, the CEO clarified that they have been working to remove the current restriction on the agreement. They also assured their clients to be more transparent in their application description so the users would know what to expect.

Microsoft was also requested for their side on the issue but has yet to release any statement.

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