Upstart program maker DuckDuckGo today is saying that the tracking protection functionality built-in to most web browsers doesn’t actually work. Fortunately, it's a free solution that does work, within the sort of an extension that works in most browsers.
“The issue is that when such trackers are loaded in your browser, they need plenty of the way to trace you beyond just third-party cookies (e.g., by another sort of cookies called first-party cookies, by your IP address, and much, much more),” the firm explains. “And many of those mechanisms can't be turned off the browser needs them to properly function.”
Most web browsers now block third-party cookies by default, and a few offer additional protections against cross-site trackers. But neither of those mechanisms is enough to completely block trackers from doing their thing. As DuckDuckGo puts it, “tracking remains to track, and therefore the most prevalent cross-site trackers (those from Google and Facebook) are certainly still tracking you.”
I experienced this anecdotally last year after I switched to Microsoft Edge and noticed that used to bestill being tracked despite Edge’s widely-promoted tracking protection functionality. the solution, I found, was that I couldn’t trust browser-based tracking protection with Brave being a possible exception and that I'd got to use one or more extensions to end the work.
Perhaps not surprisingly, DuckDuckGo offers one such extension.
“To really stop a cross-site tracker, the type that tries to trace your activity from site to site, you've gotto stop it from actually loading in your browser within the first place,” the corporate writes. “This may be a critical blocking feature that we offer in our all-in-one DuckDuckGo privacy browser extension for desktop Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari, also in our own mobile browser for iOS and Android.”