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Our DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser mobile app and our DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials browser extension already include seamless private search, tracker blocking, and smarter encryption. In order to provide additional protection for situations where the websites otherwise sell or share your data with other companies that may profit or benefit from it (such as selling data to advertisers or data brokers after your visit), we decided to help pioneer the Global Privacy Control (GPC) standard.

GPC is a browser or device setting that, when enabled, signals to all visited websites a preference for privacy. It’s easy to use GPC with DuckDuckGo – simply install our DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser mobile app (for iOS/Android) or our DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials desktop browser extension (for Chrome/Firefox/Edge – not supported in our Safari extension). The GPC setting is enabled by default so you don’t need to do anything else!

In this post-Snowden, post-Cambridge Analytica era, the many harms caused by behavioral profiling and other privacy invasions have led to the introduction of regulations such as CCPA (the California Consumer Privacy Act) in California and the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in the European Union. By invoking specific rights under these regulations, GPC is an effective way to add another layer of privacy protection to your online activities.

In California under CCPA, GPC is intended to be an opt out of the “sale” of your personal information. (See Section 1798.140(ad) of the CCPA for legal details, but broadly sale here includes more than strictly buying and selling, such as transferring data for value other than money.) In the EU under GDPR, for participating websites, GPC is intended to convey that you object to the website sharing your personal information to other third parties for their own marketing other than on behalf of the website you are visiting. Depending on the jurisdiction and applicable laws, you may have different rights when a GPC setting or extension is turned on. Be aware that this is not intended to give effect to all privacy rights you may have under applicable law.

As a simple notification working in the background, GPC works invisibly and doesn’t interfere with your browsing or use of other software. It also doesn’t replace other privacy-protecting measures such as tracker blocking and encryption, which are also included in the DuckDuckGo mobile app and desktop browser extension. To see a list of websites known to be respecting GPC, visit the Global Privacy Control website. While GPC isn’t recognized by many websites yet, we’re working hard to make it accepted worldwide.

If you’d like further information, such as how the standard is being further developed, or how your website or tool can implement it, please visit the Global Privacy Control website, or get in touch directly at info@globalprivacycontrol.org. To contact DuckDuckGo directly about privacy issues, please reach out at privacy@duckduckgo.com.