DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials extension returns to Safari

Posted:
in Mac Software edited August 2020
The privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo has relaunched its Privacy Essentials extension for Safari on macOS Catalina, with the add-on revived for Safari 13 after it was removed from distribution for Safari 12.




DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials is an extension for Safari that aims to block third-party trackers hidden on websites, such as those used by advertisers, which are used to collect data and build a profile of the user. While the blocker is developed to protect users right after installation, DuckDuckGo advises it is possible to whitelist sites of a user's choosing, for example, to fix issues with session management for some online venues.

A second element of the add-on is the Privacy Dashboard, which informs the user of how their privacy is being protected. The dashboard explains how privacy is being enhanced for a site by the extension, as well as showing a "Privacy Grade" for each site.

Privacy Essentials was previously offered for Safari, as with other browsers, but had to cease distribution in the Safari extensions gallery due to "major structural changes in Safari 12" implemented by Apple. New functionality added in Safari 13 is credited with allowing the extension to return.

There are still some changes from the earlier implementation, such as the dropping of the Smarter Encryption feature, though it is hoped to be reintroduced in the future. The developers also took the time to increase its tracker blocking coverage, as well as making enhancements to its user interface.

To install the extension, users can download it from the Mac App Store, with it requiring macOS 10.15 or later to function. While the extension isn't available on iOS, there is a DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser available which offers similar functionality.

DuckDuckGo has a long-term association with Apple, with the privacy-focused search engine available as a default search option within Safari. DuckDuckGo is also a user of Apple Maps, with Apple's MapKitJS framework used to provide location-based results to queries.

The launch of the extension arrives one day after Apple updated its own official privacy site, explaining to readers about how it works to ensure their privacy, as well as detailing hot-button topics like phone tracking and message interception.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,681member
    I ditched Google as my default search engine a year and a half ago and started using Duck-Duck-Go. It’s been great and I have no regrets. I never knew about this extension but I’ll definitely be taking a look at it.
    dysamoriapscooter63flyingdplostkiwinetlingmacxpresscat52bakedbananaswatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 2 of 16
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,635member
    Shame that AI has so many trackers. I got about 40 (which is way more than average) last time i checked with Ghostery. I block ads here due to them, I'd be happy to whitelist ads on AI without the tracking as obviously you guys need to make money somehow.

    It's a bit weird that the extensions gallery is now a Mac App Store component, because it means you have a useless stub app in the applications folder for Safari extensions. Seems like a step backward to the previous extensions gallery to me.
    edited November 2019 dysamoriasandordewmeStrangeDays
  • Reply 3 of 16
    irelandireland Posts: 17,785member
    Is this also an ad blocker?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 16
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,430member
    I abandoned Google as a search engine two years ago, or more. DDG is my replacement for all but advanced image searches, which I still go back to google for.

    Side note: The extension system in Safari has become so damned clumsy. I use ad blockers because the advertising industry forced the issue. If not for ad blockers, I probably wouldn’t use the extension system at all.
    lostkiwiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 16
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 968member
    How different/effective is this from Ghostery on Mac and iOS and Purify on iOS? 
    I use Privacy Badger (EFF) on Chrome along with Ghostery and Purify & Ghostery on  Safari.

    My home network on eero uses the ZScaler optional service which filters stuff upstream.

    It is sad that you have to use stuff like this, but the amount of digital stalking for profit is crazy.

    As to AI, I buy a subscription for ad free.
    tomowalostkiwiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 16
    Something to look forward to when I eventually move to Catalina. Can someone explain why ad blockers need permissions to "read sensitive information from webpages including passwords, phone numbers and credit cards"? I have Ghostery which comes in two parts, the content blocker which doesn't require that permission and effectively blocks some ads, but not as many as adblock (which requires those permissions) and the UI component which does request those permissions. So what's the UI extension doing it needs that for? It doesn't sound like it's just UI. It would be nice if Apple could grant access to page data but not form data so passwords/payment info were safe!
    edited November 2019 minicoffeewatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 16
    One discouraging aspect of Apple’s new architecture is that I get no feedback, anywhere, on what it being blocked` and how many things have been blocked. Old Ghostery or Ublock Origin used to show that to you in the browser toolbar, No more there, or in the background applications. I’ve tried new Ghostery Lite, Ad-Guard, Magic Lasso. None of them show anything. 

    I still want to see what is being blocked and to where. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 16
    M68000M68000 Posts: 486member
    I prefer and have used Bing for years.  Use Google only as needed.  With a name like DuckDuckGo I can’t take a childish name like that seriously.  It sounds like toy for young child. Sorry
  • Reply 9 of 16
    Shame this needs Catalina. I have some 32-bit only apps which keep me from upgrading, which means for now, I'll keep using Firefox with Privacy Badger. I don't see the advantage to DuckDuckGo's extension, other than Badger isn't available for Safari.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 16
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,914member
    I use Private windows for 90% of my browsing. Only when I go to a site that I want to remain logged into, such as this one, do I use a normal window. I wish Safari had a feature where it defaulted to Private windows, but it doesn't, so I'm forced to hold down one extra finger when opening a window. It's absolutely frightening!  >:)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 16
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,914member
    M68000 said:
    I prefer and have used Bing for years.  Use Google only as needed.  With a name like DuckDuckGo I can’t take a childish name like that seriously.  It sounds like toy for young child. Sorry

    DuckDuckGo is an absolute authority in terms of private browsing. I trust them, but unfortunately, I keep falling back to Google myself when I need trustworthy search results. Nothing compares. No, Bing will never be on my list of search engines.  B)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 16
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,914member

    wg45678 said:
    One discouraging aspect of Apple’s new architecture is that I get no feedback, anywhere, on what it being blocked` and how many things have been blocked. Old Ghostery or Ublock Origin used to show that to you in the browser toolbar, No more there, or in the background applications. I’ve tried new Ghostery Lite, Ad-Guard, Magic Lasso. None of them show anything. 

    I still want to see what is being blocked and to where. 

    Apple's tech is just an API (programming interface to the tech) that third parties can tie into. It's up to those third party developers to present an interface where you can see what their apps are doing.

    That's exactly what this DuckDuckGo extension does, I believe. It can tell you what it blocked. I could be wrong, as I'm not interested in installing it myself.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 16
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,805unconfirmed, member
    M68000 said:
    I prefer and have used Bing for years.  Use Google only as needed.  With a name like DuckDuckGo I can’t take a childish name like that seriously.  It sounds like toy for young child. Sorry

    So does Google, Yahoo and Bing!
    elijahgbakedbananaswatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 16
    M68000 said:
    I prefer and have used Bing for years.  Use Google only as needed.  With a name like DuckDuckGo I can’t take a childish name like that seriously.  It sounds like toy for young child. Sorry
    Well, "Google" and "Bing" sound like something an infant would utter. At least a child needs to know how to form words to say DuckDuckGo. ;-)
    bakedbananaswatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 16
    This is all well and good but I have a 2011 Mini that is stuck on High Sierra though I'm using Safari 13. I guess I'm SOL.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 16
    M68000 said:
    I prefer and have used Bing for years.  Use Google only as needed.  With a name like DuckDuckGo I can’t take a childish name like that seriously.  It sounds like toy for young child. Sorry
    bing does not sound childish? google does not sound childish--it is a made up word. use what you prefer, but tying it to a silly name is also silly. 
    cat52watto_cobra
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