National Advertising Division Finds Challenged DuckDuckGo Privacy Claims Supported; Recommends Clarifications for Use of App


NEW YORK, June 23, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs determined that DuckDuckGo provided a reasonable basis for:

National Advertising Division (NAD) (PRNewsfoto/National Advertising Division,B)

  • The claim that its Privacy Browser mobile app and Privacy Essentials desktop extension (together the “App”) is the “best, quickest and easiest step you can take for your privacy health,” when, in context the claim refers to being the most comprehensive all-in-one out of the box solution; and

  • The message that it does not share consumer personal data with third parties.

However, NAD recommended that to ensure consumers understand the scope of DuckDuckGo’s privacy protections, DuckDuckGo should modify the challenged advertising to make clear that the App’s protection does not extend to the use of search engines and apps outside of the DuckDuckGo solution.

DuckDuckGo offers its App that allows users to have a search experience that empowers them to take control of their personal information online by not saving or sharing personal information with third parties, affording users encrypted searches, and blocking trackers.

The claims at issue were challenged by NAD as part of its independent routine monitoring of truth and transparency in US national advertising. Specifically, NAD examined DuckDuckGo’s potentially overbroad online privacy protection claims, the accuracy of which consumers may not be able to assess on their own.

The challenged claim, “best, quickest and easiest step you can take for your privacy health,” appears in an animated YouTube video. NAD determined that DuckDuckGo provided a reasonable basis that the three forms of protection identified in the video—encryption, tracker blocking, and private search—are its key components to safeguard consumers’ privacy.

Further, NAD determined that DuckDuckGo provided a reasonable basis for the challenged claim that its App is the “best, quickest and easiest step you can take for your health privacy,” as it does not require consumers to reconfigure their computer or purchase additional features. In so finding, NAD noted that although the three biggest competitors of DuckDuckGo can be customized to protect against all three privacy threats, none do so straight out of the box.

NAD also determined that DuckDuckGo provided a reasonable basis for the message reasonably conveyed by the video that it does not share a consumer’s personal data with third parties.

Finally, NAD found that the video, which calls out the collection of data through websites and browser searches as well as mobile apps and “every product Google and Facebook release,” suggests that DuckDuckGo is the solution to the problems depicted. In this context, the claim that DuckDuckGo protects consumers’ “privacy health” “no matter where the Internet takes” them reasonably conveys the message that DuckDuckGo protects against all forms of privacy intrusion depicted in the video, even intrusions outside of the App.

Because the App’s protections are not available to a consumer using apps on his/her phone outside of the App, NAD recommended that DuckDuckGo modify the challenged advertising to make clear that the App’s protection does not extend to the use of search engines and apps outside of the DuckDuckGo solution.

In its statement, DuckDuckGo stated that it “supports NAD’s mission of voluntary self-regulation of advertising and agrees to advertiser to comply with NAD’s recommendation.”

All BBB National Programs case decision summaries can be found in the case decision library. For the full text of NAD, NARB, and CARU decisions, subscribe to the online archive.

About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs is where businesses turn to enhance consumer trust and consumers are heard. The non-profit organization creates a fairer playing field for businesses and a better experience for consumers through the development and delivery of effective third-party accountability and dispute resolution programs. Embracing its role as an independent organization since the restructuring of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in June 2019, BBB National Programs today oversees more than a dozen leading national industry self-regulation programs, and continues to evolve its work and grow its impact by providing business guidance and fostering best practices in arenas such as advertising, child-directed marketing, and privacy. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org.

About the National Advertising Division: The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs provides independent self-regulation and dispute resolution services, guiding the truthfulness of advertising across the US NAD reviews national advertising in all media and its decisions set consistent standards for advertising truth and accuracy, delivering meaning protection to consumers and leveling the playing field for business.

Cision

Cision

View original content to download multimedia: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/national-advertising-division-finds-challenged-duckduckgo-privacy-claims-supported-recommends-clarifications-for-use-of-app -301573730.html

SOURCE BBB National Programs

Leave a Comment