Any VPNs to compete with DuckDuckGo's anti-tracking Android app?

Do any VPNs or other services provide the same service that DuckDuckGo is trying to do with their app on Android? It seems like their app is going to take the space for your one VPN which means that when this comes out I’d have to choose between this or an actual VPN. If certain VPNs already do this, I’d love it, but if not DuckDuckGo is offering a tempting solution.

I know there’s nothing about WireGuard or OpenVPN that would be like what DDG’s app is supposed to do, but I’m wondering if there are VPN clients that do more than just encrypt my connection and hide my IP.

Just off the top of my head:

A lot of VPNs provide similar functionality.

1 Like

The list of @Henry is good, but I want to add Mullvad.
They use EasyList. The goal of this repository is to block tracking and improve end user privacy. By blocking the following:

Summary
 - Analytics
 - AntiBot or Bot checks
 - Telemetry
 - Tracking Pixels or cookies (being set, checked or get)
 - Referrers
 - Beacons
 - Fingerprinting
 - Email tracking
 - Impressions / Event / Perf / Pageview logging
 - User agent checks or monitoring
 - Resource miners
 - Hit counters
 - CNAME trackers
 - Notification servers / popups including any tracking covered by Easyprivacy policy
 - Linking, loading or initialising to known tracking servers, or scripts
 - Some unnecessary 3rd-party scripts/images
 - "Consent messages" using any of these tracking techniques, covered by Easyprivacy policy

But since most popular VPN providers have things like anti-tracking, ad-block, anti-malware, anti-porn, … in their features, it doesn’t really matter which VPN you choose because all of them work pretty good.

2 Likes

Very neat! Actually this thread inspired me yesterday to see if there was a way to get this “DuckDuckGo Protection” (Saying this sarcastically as it’s not very unique) with any VPN provider on iOS. I’m using iOS as an example here since DDG is marketing this as a way to somehow make Android completely more private than iOS, which is an interesting angle given how complex this is (which I’m sure they’re aware of)

It was a success!

So just to really send the message home, even if your VPN has 0 functionality for this, you’re still able to combine a VPN with all major lists of your choice via NextDNS (which also has a lot more features!) - including the ability to prevent Apple from connecting to its domains it uses to do some of its first-party tracking. This config is probably what I’d recommend to most people, including those on Android. It gives the most amount of flexibility, power, and freedom to switch VPNs/lists at-will.

4 Likes

Nice, I use Mullvad! Is that something that works by default? In looking into what Mullvad offers the closest I came to was the blog post where they set up custom DNS entries to block adult and gambling content among other things. I went for the last option of blocking everything which seems to include trackers. The only thing I was still wondering was whether that is just blocking trackers that come through my browser or any trackers running on my phone.

I guess if EastList is integrated by default, by using a custom DNS entry, or by something else that’s not default.

If I can’t confirm the the Mullvad option, I’ll try giving this a whirl. I had no idea that trackers could be blocked that come from apps themselves. I thought those were just part of having to put up with Google Play Services on stock Android!

Exactly, blocking everything includes trackers.
Here you can find the article from the Mullvad blog that mentiones the tracking protection. And yes you’re right, that does not only affect your browser, it affects your whole device because it’s basically a DNS.

2 Likes

I can recommend Rethink DNS, especially the android firewall app, where you can see all outgoing connections, and block them (like blocking Google play services)

I’m testing Rethink now, the orbot integration for me just breaks everything.

The combination of Rethink and Chromium stock looks good for recommending to people.