In the wake of an embarrassing revelation about its cozy relationship with Microsoft, Brave CEO Brendan Eich has a few words for DuckDuckGo.
As you may recall, the new DuckDuckGo browsers for iOS/Android don’t block Microsoft data flows for LinkedIn or Bing because of a business agreement with Microsoft. And we only learned about this because a security researcher audited the products and saw some “disturbing results.” DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg responded, noting that the firm’s “search results are completely anonymous, including ads.”
As DuckDuckGo’s most obvious competitor, Eich isn’t impressed.
“When DuckDuckGo got caught making exceptions for Microsoft and Bing trackers, one defense they offered was that it wasn’t a big deal, because DuckDuckGo browsers block third-party cookies,” he tweeted today. “We beg to differ.”
“The thing is, DuckDuckGo browsers also include exceptions for how Microsoft trackers circumvent third-party cookie blocking,” he continues. “Trackers try to get around cookie blocking by appending identifiers to URL query parameters, to identify you across sites. DuckDuckGo knows how trackers do this … because DuckDuckGo’s browser blocks Google, Facebook, and others from doing it. DuckDuckGo does not apply this protection to Microsoft [trackers].”
Eich’s argument is that a privacy brand like DuckDuckGo—and Brave—should put user privacy above all else, including partner demands that include a “revenue quid pro quo.” This, he says, is what Brave does. “Brave categorically does not and will not harm user privacy to satisfy partners,” he says, adding that Brave is also working towards a “private-search-ads option,” which is intriguing.
Coincidentally, Mozilla this week enabled its Total Cookie Protection feature by default in Firefox, making it what it calls “the most private and secure major browser available across Windows and Mac.” That word “major” is no doubt meant to exclude Brave from the conversation as it’s pretty clear that Brave offers better privacy than any other browser option, at least by default.