Why The ‘Do Not Track’ Option Activated In Your Browser Does Nothing

When you get into the privacy settings of your browser, there is a small option to activate the “Do not track” feature, which will send an invisible request on your behalf to all the websites you visit and tell them not to track you. A reasonable person might think that enabling this option will prevent a porn page from tracking what you watch, or prevent Facebook from collecting the addresses of all the places you visit on the Internet, or prevent third-party trackers you’ve never heard of follow you from page to page.

According to a recent survey by Forrester Research, a quarter of American adults mark the “Do Not Track” (DNT) – to protect their privacy. However, we have bad news for those who use it. “Do not track”, as had been imagined at first, was going to be a kind of “Do not call” list for the Internet, which would help free people from annoying targeted ads and data collection. But only a handful of websites respect the request, the most prominent are Pinterest and Medium. (Pinterest will not use external data to direct the ads to a visitor who chose not to be tracked, while Medium will not send your data to third parties). The vast majority of websites, including this one, ignore it.

Yahoo and Twitter initially said they would respect it, but then failed to keep their promise. The most popular sites on the Internet, from Google and Facebook to Pornhub and xHamster, never respected it in the first place. Facebook says that although it does not respect the DNT, it does “provide multiple ways for people to control how we use their data for advertising.” From Google and with some irony we have Chrome, which offers users the ability to deactivate tracking, but Google then does not deliver as promised, even Google added it to its support page last year. A spokesperson for Google says that Chrome allows users to “control their cookies” and that they can also” opt out of receiving personalized ads through AdSettings and AdChoices”, which means that the user does not have ‘targeted ads’ function of certain interests”.

There are other options for people who are upset by invasive ads, such as a somewhat obscure exclusion clause offered by an alliance of online advertising companies, but it only prevents advertising companies from targeting their ads based on what They know about you, not that they collect information from you as you browse the internet.

“This is, in many ways, a failed experiment,” said Jonathan Mayer, an assistant professor of computer science at Princeton University. “We should ask ourselves if it’s time to consider it a failure, go ahead and remove this function from web browsers.”

This is something conflicting for Mayer, since he spent four years of his life helping this application to see the light.

Why do we have this option without meaning in the browsers? The main reason why “Do Not Track”, or DNT, as some call it, became a useless tool is that the government refused to intervene and grant it any kind of legal validity. If a phone vendor skips the ‘Do Not Call’ list, he can be fined, but there is no penalty for ignoring the do not track order.

The biggest obstacle was the advertisers, who needed the data and succulent income; They insisted that the DNT “would kill the online growth” and stopped the process.

Author: NaijaRoko

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