DuckDuckGo has built a reputation as a privacy-oriented service provider with offerings like a tracker-free search engine and a web browser for computers and mobile devices, among others. Last year, the company introduced a beta feature called Email Protection: It’s a forwarding service designed to remove trackers from emails, thereby preserving user privacy. Unfortunately for would-be testers, they had to sit on a waiting list before they could try it out. That recently changed, with DuckDuckGo now allowing anyone to access the feature.
Email Protection remains in beta at the moment, but the company seems to have collected enough information to allow more people to access the feature. DuckDuckGo claims on his corporate blog (via Engadget) that he detected trackers in 85% of emails that went through Email Protection during the queue period. With more users comes more data and more bugs to fix, but the current stage of the beta also brings its first test of capability.
Additionally, the expansion of Email Protection now allows anyone to get an @duck.com email address, either to forward emails to their primary email addresses or as a standalone email account. In either scenario, DuckDuckGo will delete messages from any and all trackers.
The company says that users can create multiple private email addresses, including one for each shoddy website they have to deal with if they choose. If a user thinks their newly created @duck.com email is receiving spam, they can simply turn it off via the self-service dashboard that allows them to add, delete, or make other changes to their Duck account. Users can also reply to emails using the @duck.com address instead of their primary email address.
In addition to cleaning emails for trackers located in scripts, images, or other forms of media, Email Protection beta can also detect and remove trackers that hide under email links. Additionally, DuckDuckGo announced the use of HTTPS update for HTTP links within emails, a feature known as Smarter Encryption that is also available in the DuckDuckGo search engine.
You can now try Email Protection on your Android device by tapping the Settings button on the DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser and scrolling down to find Email Protection. Desktop users, on the other hand, need to download the DuckDuckGo extension on Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Brave to access Email Protection. Alternatively, desktop users can visit the official DuckDuckGo page for more information related to compatibility.
DuckDuckGo was embroiled in controversy this summer when it was reported that some of its products allowed Microsoft ad trackers and analytics to reach users. Since then, the company has taken corrective action to further limit the range of the tracker.