Your browser contains a treasure trove of personal information and most websites and webpages are designed in a way to collect and track that information. Advertising companies, tracking networks, analytic services, and cookies are all tracking and collecting your information on any given page.
To remedy this onslaught of tracking, various browsers built with privacy in mind are available to consumers. In this article, we will introduce you to one of our recommendations: DuckDuckGo’s Mobile Browsing App.
DuckDuckGo Mobile App
DuckDuckGo is best known for their eponymous search engine (see our overview here) but their mobile app takes privacy a step further by providing a well-built browser focused on privacy. The app is available for both Android and iOS devices.
The feature list
Always-on Privacy Protection
The mobile browser automatically blocks any hidden party trackers designed to follow you as you navigate the internet and it will identify and count the trackers DuckDuckGo has blocked on the page.
Private searching is default
Of course, the browser’s default and built-in search engine is the DuckDuckGo search engine. With the app, any search you make is free of tracking and data collection.
Forced HTTPS connection
The app will always navigate to the HTTPS version of any site whenever it’s available. HTTPS is considered a much more secure version of a website because the data between the browser and the site’s server is encrypted, preventing any snoopers or spies from seeing what you’re doing.
Privacy Grade Display
DuckDuckGo partners with Terms of Service Didn’t Read (TOSDR), a service dedicated to breaking down sites privacy policies and terms of services to an easier to understand format TOSDR also grades them according to how well the site will treat you, your rights, and your data in respect to privacy, security, and abuse.
This partnership allows DuckDuckGo to show privacy grades for each website and also displays how DuckDuckGo’s settings improve that grade. For example, a website may have a D rating but because DuckDuckGo is blocking trackers and connecting via HTTPS, that rating improves to a B.
‘Burn’ feature to erase everything
The app’s most novel feature is the ‘burn’ option, a button at the bottom of the browser that will close your session and delete any data associated with that session. That includes your history and cached data that often makes its way onto your device.
Life with the DuckDuckGo App
Depending on how you use a mobile browser, you might find that DuckDuckGo’s app is exactly what you want and need to browse privately. However, if you’re more of an advanced mobile browser user, you may find that DuckDuckGo lacking a bit.
For example, you can’t transfer bookmarks from your previous browser over to the DuckDuckGo app and some websites may not load properly because of the security and privacy restrictions in place. However, you can easy toggle those restrictions off and reload the site without a problem.
If you’re a casual browser user, you’ll hardly notice any difference between DuckDuckGo and most other browsers. You just open the app and start browsing – since the privacy settings are on by default, there’s no set-up required.
For those more privacy-curious, the additional information DuckDuckGo provides on each website is helpful to understand how certain companies are tracking you as you navigate the site.
Why we recommend DuckDuckGo
Mobile browsing’s ubiquity provides another easy-to-use channel for companies and advertisers to keep track of you. DuckDuckGo has been principled against that kind of invasive tracking since 2008 and has introduced important tools and products like this browser as a result. We trust that this app will keep your data private while still providing a high-quality browsing experience.