Why DuckDuckGo Is Attacking Google Over Its Privacy Promises

Online safety is one of the biggest concerns of internet users, and rightfully so. Invading your privacy can at the very least lead to annoyances.

That’s why it’s important for the big internet players, like Google, to make sure that your privacy is protected when you use their platforms. But are Google’s privacy promises justifiable? DuckDuckGo doesn’t think so.

Privacy Browser has called on Google to invade user privacy through its Topics and FLEDGE products. But why is DuckDuckGo attacking Google for this? Let’s find out together.


DuckDuckGo Calls Google On Its Privacy Promises

DuckDuckGo has launched a furious attack against Google over privacy statements regarding its Topics and FLEDGE products.

The company published a lengthy blog post on May 11, 2022, in which it called on Google to deceive in claiming those products were more private.

As stated in DuckDuckGo’s blog post:

If you’re a Google Chrome user, you might be surprised to learn that you may soon be automatically included in Google’s new ad targeting and tracking methods called Topics and FLEDGE. Themes use your Chrome browsing history to automatically collect information about your interests to share with other businesses, tracking companies and websites without your knowledge. FLEDGE allows your Chrome browser to target you with advertisements based on your browsing history.

Google launched Secure Sandbox in August 2019 to build a “more private web”. Through the Sandbox, it launched Themes and FLEDGE in January 2022, after abandoning FLoC following widespread criticism.

Themes show you ads based on your interests. Google tracks your top interests or “topics” across the websites you browse for three weeks and then shares that data with the websites you visit and its advertising partners.

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The idea is that you have more control and transparency over your data because you can remove topics you don’t like or disable Themes entirely.

FLEDGE, on the other hand, is a retargeting tool that Google claims is “designed so that it cannot be used by third parties to track users’ browsing behavior across websites.”

DuckDuckGo calls Google a bluff on both product claims and says you should use its browser instead. But there are more ways to stay protected online.

Why is DuckDuckGo attacking Google for its privacy promises?

Simply put, DuckDuckGo says that Google is deceiving its users by claiming that Topics and FLEDGE offer more privacy. Here’s what the company has to say about the products in its blog post:

These new methods enable creepy advertising and other content-targeting without the need for third-party cookies. While Google is positioning this as being more privacy-respecting, the simple fact of tracking, targeting, and profiling, still is tracking, targeting, and profiling, whatever you want to call it.

DuckDuckGo essentially claims that even though Google introduced these products with the promise of more privacy, it ended up invading your privacy because the products were “scary” and “intrusive” privacy violation”.

The company believes so because these products track your online activity and share your data with websites and advertisers without your consent. DuckDuckGo’s key message is that your data is not protected as long as privacy is not the default.

For example, it shows Google’s defense that users can delete Topics they don’t want to be tracked as hogwash because people usually don’t change their default browser settings. It also claims that Google specifically makes it difficult for users to do so through the “dark model”.

As for FLEDGE, DuckDuckGo argues that it works similarly to third-party cookies. This makes it counterproductive as it also allows advertisers to target you on other websites by asking Google to tag and categorize you as interest groups.

But it’s worth remembering that DuckDuckGo is a competitor to Google. And while it may be fighting for the greater good, it is also working against Google to become a formidable player in the internet browsing space.

That’s probably why the privacy-focused search engine advises internet users to give up Google Chrome. Regardless of which browser you prefer, you should check if a website is safe to use before browsing it.


Does DuckDuckGo make sense to attack Google over topics and FLEDGE?

Regardless of the motive for appealing to Google for its privacy promises, DuckDuckGo has a point.

Finally, and to put it simply, Google still makes your data available to advertisers by default and makes it inconvenient for you to change those default settings when they should default to private. .

That way, Google sets you up with advertisers’ targeting and retargeting, that’s the point.


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https://www.makeuseof.com/why-duckduckgo-attacking-google-over-privacy/ Why DuckDuckGo Is Attacking Google Over Its Privacy Promises

Sarah Ridley

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