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DuckDuckGo Email Protection protects users from invisible trackers

Privacy-friendly search engine DuckDuckGo introduces a new email service that helps users protect themselves from invisible trackers.

Email Protection is DuckDuckGo's new free email service. However, the service is not entirely the same as Gmail and Outlook. Although users are given an @duck.com address, emails sent to the email address are first stripped of any invisible trackers. Only then will an email be forwarded to the recipient. Users are even notified of the number of invisible trackers that have been removed.

Advertisers use invisible trackers, among other things, to see when and whether an email is opened. In addition, advertisers gain insight into the location of the reader at the time of opening and they know on which device the message is opened. Research by computer scientist Steven Englehardt shows that an estimated 70 percent of newsletters contain hidden trackers.

Because DuckDuckGo Email Protection uses an intervening address, you can continue to use your own email service. Users can sign up for newsletters with their @duck.com address, after which the service forwards the e-mails stripped from all trackers to the user's e-mail service (such as Gmail or Outlook). DuckDuckGo also promises that it will not store any emails or headers. The images that are sent in newsletters, however, remain available.

Protect your identity

It is also possible to create a 'Private Duck Address'. This @duck.com address uses a random name, which helps protect your identity. This is useful if you are concerned that a website may want to sell your email address to third parties.

DuckDuckGo Email Protection is currently in beta. You can sign up for the service by signing up for a waiting list. DuckDuckGo promises to admit new users every day. It shouldn't take long before you get access.


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