Want to Use ChatGPT Anonymously? Here’s How With DuckDuckGo

Worried that your data will be harvested when using AI tools? DuckDuckGo might just have the answer.

It’s no great secret that AI chatbots like ChatGPT save data on the questions and queries that users input.

It’s one of the ways that companies such as OpenAI and Anthropic hone and improve their products.
If that doesn’t sound like a particular concern, the knowledge that ChatGPT also gathers and has the right to disclose other personal information including geolocation data, device details, and log data may well be.

Fortunately, champion of internet privacy DuckDuckGo has released a feature called DuckDuckGo AI Chat, which seeks to anonymize your use of popular chatbots – with ChatGPT and Claude among them and more on the way.

Free and Anonymous Access to AI

DuckDuckGo AI Chat lets you raise all of your AI queries through its own tool and promises that they will all be private, anonymized and not used for AI model training.

In a blog post introducing the feature, it acknowledges the increasing utilization of chatbots among internet users, but also cites research that suggests the majority remain concerned about the privacy aspect of that use.

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“We believe people should be able to use the Internet and other digital tools without feeling like they need to sacrifice their privacy in the process,” reads the post. “Developing products that add a layer of privacy to the everyday things they do online… first with search, then browsing, email, and now with generative AI via AI Chat.”

“In the industry-wide race to integrate generative AI, there’s a lot of pressure to add AI features just for the sake of saying you have them. We’re taking a different approach.” – DuckDuckGo

How To Use DuckDuckGo AI Chat

The feature – which isn’t mandatory and can be turned off – works through duck.ai, duckduckgo.com/chat or through the company’s ‘bang’ shortcuts (!ai and !chat).

Once you’re there, you can carry out your anonymous query with a few simple steps:

  1. Pick a chat model. (Currently available are Open AI’s ChatGPT 3.5 Turbo, Anthropic’s Claude 3 Haiku and open-source models Meta Llama 3 and Mistral’s Mixtral 8x7B)
  2. Check and agree to DuckDuckGo’s privacy policy and terms of use
  3. Enter your query or use the prompts provided

It’s really as simple as that. If you’ve used AI chatbots before, it will all be very familiar and you still have the option to amend, narrow or sharpen your queries in the usual way.

Use of DuckDuckGo AI Chat is currently free, although the company is implementing an undefined daily limit. It says that it aims to maintain a free tier in the future, but is “exploring a paid plan for access to higher limits and more advanced (and costly) chat models.”

So How Does It Keep My Chats Anonymous?

To ensure that all chats within DuckDuckGo Chat AI are entirely anonymous and can’t be traced back to the user, it claims to effectively carry out the query with the 3rd party chatbot on your behalf – thus removing the user’s IP address completely from the equation.

“This way it looks like the requests are coming from us and not you,” says the blog post.

“We have agreements in place with all model providers to ensure that any saved chats are completely deleted by the providers within 30 days, and that none of the chats made on our platform can be used to train or improve the models” – DuckDuckGo

It also states that DuckDuckGo will not save or store any chats, although some may be stored temporarily only in order to respond properly to the query and “ensure all systems are working.” After that, it says, there are no ways to tie chats back to the user.

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Written by:
Now a freelance writer, Adam is a journalist with over 10 years experience – getting his start at UK consumer publication Which?, before working across titles such as TechRadar, Tom's Guide and What Hi-Fi with Future Plc. From VPNs and antivirus software to cricket and film, investigations and research to reviews and how-to guides; Adam brings a vast array of experience and interests to his writing.
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