Do Not Track is no more effective than placebo

Subject: General Tech | October 17, 2018 - 01:02 PM |
Tagged: do not track, placebo, fooled you, security

To the cynics among us it will come as no surprise that the Do Not Track option on your browser does almost nothing to protect your privacy.  The option was conceived as an additional string sent out with your metadata, DNT:1, which the website you connected to would receive and honour.  That, of course, is the rub.  You have to trust sites which depend, at least in part, on advertising revenue to refrain from targeting you with advertisements.  This does not happen apart for a very few exceptions which has led Mozilla to consider incorporating stronger protections in their browser. 

Follow the links from Slashdot to learn more.

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"According to a recent survey by Forrester Research, a quarter of American adults use "Do Not Track" to protect their privacy. (Our own stats at Gizmodo Media Group show that 9% of visitors have it turned on.) We've got bad news for those millions of privacy-minded people, though: "Do Not Track" is like spray-on sunscreen, a product that makes you feel safe while doing little to actually protect you. "

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Source: Slashdot

Mozilla Issues Do Not Track Field Guide To Advertisers

Subject: General Tech | September 8, 2011 - 09:05 PM |
Tagged: mozilla, do not track, adblock

Popular open source browser maker Mozilla recently released a field guide aimed at advertisers that outlines Do Not Track functionality. The guide is reported by Computer World as including tutorials, case studies, guidelines, and sample code to “inspire developers, publishers, and advertisers to adopt DNT.”

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Mozilla's Firefox browser supports the popular Do Not Track add-on.

Mozilla indicated that approximately 22,500,000 users are currently employing the Do Not Track add-on. Further, there are currently more users who use Do Not Track than there are people using AdBlock Plus.

While the field guide is a good start, the real issue for consumers lies in whether or not advertisers will take notice and allow consumers to opt out of their tracking mechanisms. In the end, advertisers will need to implement some form of opt-out procedure (or better yet, an opt-in mechanism) lest they lose any revenue because users completely block out their advertisements. Currently; however, there is a cultural battle between advertisers and consumer privacy advocates, and it remains to be seen which will win out. Where do you stand on the issue; should advertisers be allowed to collect tracking data?

Which browser should you use for the things you don't want people to know you did

Subject: General Tech | April 27, 2011 - 12:20 PM |
Tagged: flash. lso, firefox, extension, do not track, chrome

The new versions of IE, Firefox and even Opera have a do not track feature that is intended to block tracking cookies from landing on your system and letting advertisers and others get a feel for where you've been and what you've done online.  Arguing whether having a browsing experience without any targeted ads is a huge step in the name of privacy when there is far more information available from your Google and Facetwitter accounts seems pointless, but it is nice to know that you have that button.  Of course it doesn't work very well on the local shared objects on your machine, dumped there by Flash during your browsing experience, as evidenced very well by the online side scroller by the name of "You Only Live Once".  Google has yet to put a do not track button on their Chrome browser, for reasons obvious to many, but according to The Inquirer they have included tools to easily remove your local shared objects.  Exciting until you realize that Firefox has had an extension which can delete these 'super cookies' for quite a while now.

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"THE LATEST VERSION of Google's Chrome web browser has made it much easier to delete user behavioural information, but there's still word on whether it will provide a 'Do Not Track' feature like those already offered by Firefox and Internet Explorer."

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Source: The Inquirer