Have you used Facebook or Google?
Well who doesn't. It would be difficult to navigate the cyber universe without passing through their spiders webs. Facebook is open in saying that it does not respect Do-No-Track (Yep, their computers see the flag saying not to track you, but hey its Facebook! They make the rules, and their rule is to ignore Do-Not-Track). For sure there are mechanisms within Facebook for controlling how your data is used .... but there is no single overaching "Do-Not-Track" mechanism that allows your activity to remain free of targeting. And not all data (that is YOUR data I am referring to) can be controlled by these mechanisms.
Google, in its relentless quest for openness and transparency, provide the ability in the Chrome browser to turn off tracking from settings, but this is equally ignored by Google. In a similar approach to Facebook, Chrome allows management of "Cookies" and the opportunity to opt-out of personalized ads via "Ad-Settings"
Support for Do-Not-Track - in name only!
Of course the major Browser suppliers (Google, Apple, Microsoft, Mozilla) all offered the ability to select Do-Not-Track, and then immediately chose to ignore those requests. Perhaps the explanation for ignoring the users' requests for privacy was based upon some altruistic reason; and surely was not tainted by commercial lobbying from advertisers concerned about constraining the growth of their revenues and profits!
Ad-blockers - the final frontier
As the browsing population becomes more and more dissatisfied with the targeted advertising, they are turning to one of the last bastions of privacy; the ad-blockers. Of course, this has resulted in increased usage of paywalls and pop-ups requesting that the ad-blocker is switched off before access can be granted to the site.
In Cyberspace can anyone hear you scream?
Last month, Apple announced the withdrawal of Do-Not-Track as an option is Safari and iOS. They will be building their own version of tracking opt-out which will be more refined and nuanced (complicated?). Likewise Mozilla are taking a similar approach.
What is the Answer?
The rule-book on data privacy is a paper tiger; it needs some real teeth!
Self-regulation at an industry level is clearly not working.
And if the regulators can not get their act together, then "Do-Not-Track" should be removed as an option from all browsers.
Just Remember .........
Do-Not-Track is not accomplishing what you might expect it to achieve. It is misleading, and if the regulators cannot get their act together then maybe the big four (Google, Apple, Microsoft, Mozilla) can collectively remove "Do-Not_track" so there is no danger of users operating under the illusion that in fact they are not being tracked!
Length: 1047 Words.
Time to read 5 Minutes
2019, March 18
Do-Not-Track .... a simple concept?
For a number of years we have all been living with a false sense of security for our browsing. the concept was simple, instead of the behemoths of the cyber world being able to use laser-like precision to target marketing messages based on our browsing history, Do-No-Track allowed us to take back our privacy.
When Opt-Out does not mean what it says
The rise of Do-Not-Track was a direct response to a growing demand for privacy. The feature was available in the settings of the browser. Check the box marked Do-Not-Track and everything would be private. Right? WRONG!
Do-Not-Track does NOT equate to "Don't track me"!
It's fair to assume that the majority of Browser users, would assume that selecting "Do-Not-Track" would send a very clear message to all the websites visited using that browser not to track the activities. The vist was invisible, never happened. Right? WRONG!
False sense of Security
If you are one of the privacy minded individuals relying on Do-Not-Track to protect your privacy, then unfortunately you have been sheltering under a non-existent security blanket. You may have felt safe, but the reality is somewhat different.