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

October 17, 2018 | 02:42 PM - Posted by Subsailor

Full detailed article without going through the slashdot summary: Gizmodo

October 17, 2018 | 06:43 PM - Posted by OhAllThatMetaCrapDoesNoGoodAtAll (not verified)

Do not track has always been a joke! To think that anyone would pay any attention to any honor based do not track system.

The ad pushers would even secretly record your voice conversations if they could get away with that and more folks that have smart TVs/Other IOT devices with microphones are getting that treatment voluntarily if they use Alexa, Siri, Cortana, and Google Assistant loaded on any devices.

Big Ad Pusher is listening and seeing in addition to snooping on your browsing habits. Who needs any three letter agencies anymore because all that Personal Assistant tat on IOT/Other devices is doing the TLA's grunt work currently and anyone else that has hacked into your Smart TV or Toaster/Other Appliances with built in Personal Assistants!

Only Ad Blockers and NoScript with some WireShark(to look for any side channel comms back to the mothership and provide some info for router firewalling) will be effective as always. Personal Assistants will Rat you out the nanosecond you wire them up so that's a big Hell NO to that if you value your privacy!

October 17, 2018 | 09:32 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

It was never for preventing bad advertisers.

Do Not Track was for web devs to tailor their experience for different customer types. Microsoft took it out of context and set it always on for marketing reasons, though. This not only screwed up public understanding (although, yes, it was pretty misunderstood even before that) but it also made it so web devs couldn't trust its intended use.

The actual goal was that I, as a web developer, could do things like recommend products based on past experiences for the customers that would appreciate it, but I could also, in place of that, give them general "popular in general" suggestions to the ones that are privacy-conscious.

Granted, that didn't really make sense. The better UX would have been setting it on the website by hand.

October 17, 2018 | 07:23 PM - Posted by Krom

In other news: study finds water is wet.

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