DuckDuckGo is the “easy button” for online privacy. That’s why our apps have been downloaded more than 50 million times over the last 12 months, more than all prior years combined.

  • HTTPS Everywhere extension by EFF now powered by Smarter Encryption from DuckDuckGo dataset.

When using the DuckDuckGo all-in-one privacy browser extension for desktop Firefox, Chrome, or Edge, or our own mobile browser for iOS and Android, one of the ways we protect your browsing is through our Smarter Encryption technology. It detects unencrypted (HTTP) connections to websites and automatically upgrades them to encrypted (HTTPS) connections when possible, keeping your personal data like your search terms, the exact pages you visit, and anything you type into a website private from possible network snoopers.

Today, we’re proud to announce another milestone bringing our best-in-class privacy protection technology to millions more people: The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is incorporating data from Smarter Encryption into their HTTPS Everywhere browser extension. EFF has been defending digital rights and privacy for over 30 years and Smarter Encryption itself was inspired by their pioneering work.

When Smarter Encryption launched, out of the gate it was far more comprehensive than similar technologies because it is automatically generated by crawling the web, and re-crawling continuously to ensure that users don’t face any breakage when websites change. This automated process has enabled us to keep up with the growing number of websites adopting HTTPS solutions such as Let’s Encrypt (co-founded by EFF, Mozilla and University of Michigan) – something that has become increasingly difficult for maintainers of crowd-sourced approaches. On DuckDuckGo Search, for example, the full Smarter Encryption dataset derived from our automatic crawling now covers around 90% of all website clicks from search results.

If you have the HTTPS Everywhere extension installed in your browser, you don’t need to do anything and shouldn’t notice anything different other than seamlessly enjoying even greater encryption protection. You can of course also make use of the technology by using the DuckDuckGo app/extension or by simply starting your web searches on DuckDuckGo Search.

If you’d like to use the Smarter Encryption code or dataset yourself, non-commercial users are free to do so under the Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license. For commercial use, please reach out directly to our Partnerships team.

“We’re delighted that DuckDuckGo’s Smarter Encryption is now available in HTTPS Everywhere. When we started the project, the vast majority of the internet was not protected. Now it is, and preserving and completing that work is vital for us all. There is no group better suited to do this than DuckDuckGo.”
– Jon Callas, EFF Director of Technology Projects

We think everyone deserves simple privacy protection, which is why we build privacy technology like Smarter Encryption and Tracker Radar, making it easy for people to take back their privacy without sacrifice. We’re delighted we are now more closely working with EFF to further this mission.

Note: Google recently announced their plan to use HTTPS by default in Chrome for direct navigation. That means it only affects website addresses (URLs) typed directly into the address bar that do not have an “http://” or “https://” prefix. It should not be confused with the greater protection Smarter Encryption provides, which covers all clicks and interactions as you browse the web, including clicks from social media, search engines, and other websites.


For more privacy advice follow us on Twitter, and stay protected and informed with our privacy newsletters.