DuckDuckGo today announced its Email Protection service, which aims to protect email privacy without requiring users to switch email providers.
“70 percent 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,” a new post to the DuckDuckGo blog reads. “If that isn’t creepy enough, this email data can be used to profile you, including to target you with ads, and influence the content you see online. Ever open an email and see a related ad about it soon thereafter? Yup, blame email trackers. This data about you is also usually sent directly to third parties, most likely without your consent.”
To combat this problem, DuckDuckGo will release a service called Email Protection that provides users with an @duck.com email address that forwards all messages to your existing email provider with the trackers removed. The service is currently in beta with a waiting list, and it’s unclear whether DuckDuckGo will eventually charge a subscription fee.
Regardless, the idea seems like a good one. In addition to the forwarding capability, Email Protection will let you unique private email addresses—using the DuckDuckGo mobile app or web browser extension—so that you can’t be tracked by your email address. And since this is DuckDuckGo, your email isn’t saved by the firm. “When we receive an email, we immediately remove trackers from it and then forward it to you, never saving it on our systems,” the company explains. “We don’t even save the headers (e.g., to/from).”
The big hurdle, I guess, is that you’ll need to create a new @duck.com email address and then use that with all your online services. So you’ll need to go to the effort of changing the email account you use everywhere online.
If you’re interested in testing Email Protection in beta, you’ll need to join a waiting list. To do so, install the DuckDuckGo app on Android or iPhone, navigate to Settings > Beta Features > Email Protection, and then select “Join the Private Waitlist.”
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