DuckDuckGo has already made a name for itself with a privacy-focused search engine that has continued to grow in popularity over the years. Now it is taking another leap forward in privacy with email protection. Described as an email forwarding service, DuckDuckGo is looking for yet another way to provide privacy protection for users on the internet. So how does DuckDuckGo‘s email forwarding service protect you online? Let’s find out.
What Is DuckDuckGo Email Protection?
It sounds too simplified to say that Email Protection is basically an email forwarding service, but that’s actually what it is. This free service does the job of removing email trackers that are included in your email every day and strips them out without any need to stop using your current email provider. That means anyone with a Gmail, Outlook, iCloud or Yahoo email can use an @duck.com email without anyone being the wiser. Your @duck.com address will be unique, similar to your existing email addresses, and you can give it out anywhere you want online.
the company is taking this one step further even. As part of this service, you can also utilize unique, disposable email addresses that can be used for newsletters, shopping online, etc. That leaves your regular @duck.com email address free so it can be used with friends, family, colleagues, etc. For DuckDuckGo, jumping on the email privacy train is yet another step in its efforts to rid the online world of trackers that are so prevalent while surfing online. With email trackers hidden in more than 70 percent of email online, the need for this service to exist is clear.
How Does Email Protection Work?
Basically, whenever an email lands in this DuckDuckGo email account, the company works to strip any hidden trackers that are integrated in the email message. You, as the user, set a forwarding email to your primary email account, which provides you with a significantly more private email. Begin by choosing your new Duck email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) and begin giving it out online.
As an email is sent to this address, trackers are stripped out, then forwarded to your Gmail, Outlook, etc. inbox for “safer reading.” There is no delay in delivery time, emails will arrive as usual, and you will read them exactly as you do today. In all fairness, there is probably little chance you would recognize that anything has changed.
Is DuckDuckGo’s Email Protection Service Safe?
If you have reached this point in the article, it’s 100 percent fair that you are wondering whether DuckDuckGo will be able to read your email. The company makes it a huge sticking point in its announcement that they don’t need to save your email. In fact, they even go as far as to say that even the headers are not saved (to/from), so there is no history of your email arriving or being sent out.
The only piece of info that is saved is where the email is forwarded to, and that’s okay because you are deliberately giving the service that address. If you get to a point where you want to delete your account, your email address is removed 30 days after your account is deleted – all but ensuring there is no record of you whatsoever. More importantly, if the email address is ever compromised online, you can easily delete it and start again.
What Are the Drawbacks?
Realistically, given the drive for more privacy online, DuckDuckGo’s Email Protection service sounds really great. Perhaps the only hiccup is that while emails are sent through the server and delivered to your inbox, you cannot create an email using your @duck.com email. Hopefully, this is something the company tackles in the future, and while we likely don’t need another email inbox to manage, one that puts privacy at the very forefront of its mission is one well worth considering using full time.
Comparing DuckDuckGo to Apple iCloud+ Private Relay
The moment DuckDuckGo announced this service, it was inevitable that comparisons would be made to Apple’s iCloud+ Hide My Email coming in iOS 15. With that service, your iPhone and Apple by extension will help hide your email address by using a randomized Apple email and prevent apps or websites from knowing your real email. On the other hand, DuckDuckGo offers a service that is cross-platform that works across iPhone, Android, mobile and desktop. Apple’s one advantage is being able to send and receive email using Hide My Email, but hopefully, that is something DDG will tackle in the future.
How to Sign Up
As one might expect with DuckDuckGo, joining the private waitlist is not only easy – doing so also protects your identity online. Instead of sharing any personal info, like an email to save your place in line, a timestamp is created that exists solely on your device, and the company will notify you when it’s time to join.
To get your place, go to the Settings page in the DuckDuckGo Android or iOS app and tap on “Email Protection.” That’s it. You are on the waitlist. The service is adding new users every day, although the company has not indicated when it will drop either the waitlist or the beta status.
DuckDuckGo, like other search engines, lives in Google’s shadow, but it has made a name for itself as a strong believer in online privacy. That it’s available as a potential default search engine on iPhone and Android speaks to its growing popularity. While there is plenty of competition in the search engine space vying for privacy, DuckDuckGo is not waiting for that competition to catch up. Instead, with the release of services like Email Protection, it’s already thinking of the next big thing.