DuckDuckGo, an internet search engine that emphasizes protecting searchers’ privacy, is launching a new email privacy service meant to stop ad companies from spying on your inbox.
Basically, it’s a free email forwarding service
In a nutshell, it’s basically a free email forwarding service that also removes the email trackers that are usually included in any email we receive. So no matter what email service you use, be it Gmail, Outlook, iCloud, Yahoo, or AOL, you can use an @duck.com email. This unique @duck.com address can be similar to your existing email addresses, and you can give it out anywhere you want online.
You can also generate a unique private email address in the DuckDuckGo app (or browser extension), so your email address can’t track you. This could be handy for newsletters, shopping online, submitting your email address to get a free e-book, etc.
How does it Work?
Anytime an email lands in your @duck.com email account, DuckDuckGo strips any hidden trackers that are integrated within the email message. When you set up your @duck.com email account, you need to define a forwarding email — which typically would go to your primary email account.
It’s common for marketers to upload your email address to Google and Facebook for ad targeting or for your email to be leaked in a data breach; this extra level of identity protection is now, unfortunately, necessary.
Is it Safe?
When an email is received, DuckDuckGo will immediately remove trackers and then forward them to you. However, DuckDuckGo will never save your emails.
Think Before You Click
While I think this service will be good for the general consumer, make sure you think before you click any link within any email — regardless if it is processed via @duck.com. Once you click on a link within an email, that click will be tracked (and your email revealed).
Online marketers and advertisers will always find a way to track people. For example, online advertising is typically targeted, which means tracking people.
This is why I try to recommend to my clients not to click links within any email, regardless of its source — you just never know.
Instead, if the email is from a company you do business with, a utility company for your home/office, an online vendor, your bank, etc., open your web browser and use a saved bookmark to go to the website. Or, better yet, use the dedicated app that should be on your phone.
People are generally gullible. In my experience, little or no thought is given before someone clicks a link.
How Can You Sign-up?
The DuckDuckGo Email Protection feature is currently in beta. To get access to the beta, you need to join the private waitlist. They let new people in every day, but the sooner you join, the sooner you’ll be able to get your own @duck.com email address and begin protecting your email privacy.
You won’t need to share any personal information to join the waitlist. Instead, you’ll secure your place in line with a timestamp that exists solely on your device. Once you have a Personal Duck Address, you can expect DuckDuckGo to support it long-term, so you can confidently share it from day one.
- Start by downloading the DuckDuckGo app in either the Apple App Store (iOS), or the Google Play Store (Android).
- Open Settings > Beta Features > Email Protection
- Click / Tap “Join the Private Waitlist.”