DuckDuckGo wants to kill off email spying for good

DuckDuckGo Email protection feature
(Image credit: DuckDuckGo)

Privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo has launched a new security service aimed at keeping users safe from third-party trackers and email watchers in their inbox.

The company says its new Email Protection offering can offer comprehensive privacy without the need to switch email services.

Instead, the new service offers users a free and personal email address, where any emails sent will be stripped of email trackers before being forwarded on to your usual inbox.

Email protection

Unveiling the feature, DuckDuckGo cited recent research that claims 70% of emails contain trackers that can detect when you’ve opened a message, where you were when you opened it, and what device you were using.

The company says this information can then be used to profile individual users, meaning they can be bombarded with ads as well as influencing what content you see online.

"Most existing email privacy solutions come with significant tradeoffs," a company blog post announcing the service said.

"You either have to switch email services or apps entirely, or degrade your email experience by hiding all images. We believe protecting your personal information from leaking to third parties should be simple and seamless, like the rest of DuckDuckGo’s privacy protection bundle."

DuckDuckGo says it doesn't save any emails, or the content within, and users won't need to share any personal information to sign up to the service.

The feature is available in beta testing now, with top email services like Gmail and Yahoo included. Users can join a private waitlist now by downloading the DuckDuckGo app for iOS or Android.

The release is the latest attempt by DuckDuckGo to improve user privacy as more and more people become aware of the risks posed by sharing too much information online.

The company revealed back in April that it will block Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC), Google's alternative to third-party browser cookies, which for years have allowed advertisers to track the activity of web users.

FLoC is currently undergoing a trial period, exclusively on Chrome. Although Google hopes to expand the technology beyond the confines of its own web browser, DuckDuckGo and other opponents look set to stand in its way.

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Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.