Introduced in the summer of 2021, DuckDuckGo Email Protection is a free email forwarding utility that gives people a way to conceal their email address when signing up for online services, newsletters and the like.
The service also eliminates tracking artefacts commonly included in email messages and, with the move to public beta, DuckDuckGo has added the ability to shield against trackers embedded in web links too.
Private email with DuckDuckGo
The new service from DuckDuckGo can be seen as a hybrid between traditional email forwarding services, which route messages through to an inbox without exposing the address, and private email services like ProtonMail.
The ambition is to shield against user profiling by obscuring identity information and combat covert tracking techniques deployed by digital advertising firms, online retailers and other web players.
“Companies embed trackers in images and links within email messages, letting them collect information like when you’ve opened a message, where you were when you opened it, and what device you were using,” explained DuckDuckGo, in a blog post.
“And because your email addresses are connected to so much of what you do online – making purchases, using social media, and more – tracking companies can also effectively use your personal email address as a profiling identifier.”
With the new tool, users can generate both a personal @duck address (say, email@example.com) and an unlimited number of randomized private addresses. Messages arriving to both of these alias types will be stripped of their trackers, but the latter can also be deactivated at any time to stem the flow of spam into the inbox.
The benefit of opting for Email Protection over a fully-fledged private email service, the company says, is that users can enjoy a comparable level of tracking protection without having to switch provider or juggle multiple accounts.
DuckDuckGo users can sign up for the Email Protection beta via the Settings menu in the mobile app, or by navigating to this address in their web browser, provided the company’s extension is installed.
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Joel Khalili is the News and Features Editor at TechRadar Pro, covering cybersecurity, data privacy, cloud, AI, blockchain, internet infrastructure, 5G, data storage and computing. He's responsible for curating our news content, as well as commissioning and producing features on the technologies that are transforming the way the world does business.