New DuckDuckGo Chrome Extension Blocks Topics and FLEDGE

Posted on May 11, 2022 by Paul Thurrott in Google Chrome, Web browsers with 0 Comments

DuckDuckGo today announced the availability of DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials, a Chrome extension that will block Topics and FLEDGE, Google’s new tracking and targeting methods.

“If you’re a Google Chrome user, you might be surprised to learn that you may soon be automatically entered into Google’s new tracking and ad targeting methods called Topics and FLEDGE,” DuckDuckGo explains. “Topics uses your Chrome browsing history to automatically collect information about your interests to share with other businesses, tracking companies and websites without your knowledge. FLEDGE enables your Chrome browser to target you with ads based on your browsing history. These new methods enable creepy advertising and other content targeting without third-party cookies. While Google is positioning this as more privacy respecting, the simple fact is tracking, targeting, and profiling, still is tracking, targeting, and profiling, no matter what you want to call it.”

According to DuckDuckGo, Topics (which replaces FLoC, or Federated Learning of Cohorts) and FLEDGE (First Locally-Executed Decision over Groups Experiment, basically the Privacy Sandbox) will only be enabled in Google Chrome. It recommends that users not use Chrome, of course, but for those that do, this extension will provide the protections users may want.

You can find the DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials extension on Google’s Chrome Chrome Web Store, which is actually pretty hilarious.

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