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DuckDuckGo launches Tracker Radar and open sources its code

Cartoon graphic by DuckDuckGo illustrating Tracker Radar

The privacy search engine company, DuckDuckGo, has announced the availability of Tracker Radar which helps users boost their privacy online. Users can benefit from the tool by using DuckDuckGo’s apps and extensions.

To block trackers with Tracker Radar, DuckDuckGo periodically crawls a large set of the top websites. It then looks at how often a resource is used in a third-party context, how often it sets cookies, how it uses browser APIs, and how likely it is that those APIs will identify individual users. With this method, DuckDuckGo can keep its list regularly up-to-date and it can discover new tracking techniques more easily.

Aside from releasing Tracker Radar for end-users, DuckDuckGo is also open-sourcing the code which developers can use to spin tools of their own and create custom tracker blocklists. The company said that Tracker Radar will also be useful for researchers that are interested in learning more about how users are tracked around the web.

DuckDuckGo highlighted that typical tracker blockers either use blocklists which are crowd-sourced and therefore subject to priorities and bias, or use heuristics. DuckDuckGo said heuristics are problematic because they build an identifiable list of things to block.

If you want to use this tool, you’ll find it built into the DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser mobile apps on iOS and Android as well as in the DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials desktop browser extensions on Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.

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