Brave CEO Lashes Out at DuckDuckGo Privacy Gaffe

Posted on June 16, 2022 by Paul Thurrott in Web browsers with 12 Comments

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.

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Comments (12)

12 responses to “Brave CEO Lashes Out at DuckDuckGo Privacy Gaffe”

  1. lvthunder

    Putting user privacy above all else seems like a good way to go out of business. Yes, user privacy needs to be near the top, but the survival of the company needs to be at the top. Because if you don't have that then you have nothing.

    • wright_is

      On the other hand, many users will use a product specifically because it is private and secure.

      If you want privacy, you have to pay for it. That is why I donate to Mozilla, for example.

  2. PcGuy8088

    I use Brave as my main browser on Windows and have done so for 3 or 4 years. Over the years I have seen Brave's own support level degrade as they position themselves more and more to Web 3.0. I hope that Brave is not losing sight of why some users use Brave. For the privacy aspect. Brave is looking to expand its revenue sources just as DuckDuckGo does.

    • benhaube

      That is the main reason I refuse to use Brave. "Web 3.0" doesn't exist. It is a farce and a scam. Just like the "metaverse." The entire cryptocurrency market is full of grifters. They claim that it is decentralized, but it is not. It is still just as centralized as what we have now, only by different companies. In the end, I think Brave will lose what little users they have the further down this road they go. I wonder when they will realize that its all a scam and do an about face.

  3. ringofvoid

    I had a relative ask me if they needed to switch back to Safari after the news broke about Duckduckgo's browser & Microsoft. Of course not. Obviously it's not perfect for privacy protection but it's still far better than going with the defaults on iOS or Android.

  4. wyldphyre

    Yeah, well. I’ll still keep using Duck Duck Go with no qualms. However I’m not even going to start using Brave thanks to the (homophobic an other) views of its CEO.

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