Do Not Track Is Still Tracking
Ever click the “Do Not Track’ function in your browser settings assuming that it’s stopping pages and websites from ‘tracking you and your online activity’? Any reasonable person would think this. Except it’s still tracking you and the sites that you are using know, you turned it on. In fact, they’re not only tracking you, they’re tracking the fact that you’re trying to protect your privacy.
There should be standard protocol set when it comes to your privacy and since the “internet of things” is somewhat new and trendy, people don’t get that it’s actually a huge security nightmare- for you.
A survey by Forrester Research reports that “A quarter of American adults use the “Do Not Track” function to protect their privacy”- thats a huge number of people trying to stay safe and secure, and yet it’s done nothing for them. By normal standards, this is pretty bad. Providing a service/function thats falsely providing you with nothing.
Every site you visit, you are being watched. The ‘incognito mode’ or ‘private mode’ is a prime example of this. It’s not incognito or private at all- in fact your ISP and apps that you’ve downloaded and given permission to are all watching and collecting that data. They know that “John Smith” went on that porn site, watched this much stuff with these keywords for this long- and that data gets sold to parties that have an interest in that data. You think you’re names not attached to it? It is.
These ‘functions’ are designed to generate the feelings of ‘security and privacy’ when it’s actually watching you still. It’s like telling you that you’re inside a safe metal bunker but it’s actually just cardboard spray painted to look like metal.
The intention started off nice. It was supposed to be the “Do Not Call” list of the internet and it was created by consumer advocates. But alas very few sites honor the “Do Not Track” function. Pinterest and Medium for example are two companies that do respect it- Medium won’t send the data to 3rd parties which is a pretty big deal.
Others likes Twitter, Yahoo and the infinite sites of the internet do not honor it. Google, Facebook, Pornhub and a ton of other tank sites wouldn’t even consider it. Google tracks in the name of ‘better searches’ even though Chrome has an option to turn off tracking, they still track you…. Facebook as we know has had their issues with data leaks, breaches and flat out privacy butchering – some of which you agree to in their TOS.
You have to ask yourself a serious question: Is Google, Facebook and all these free services just pumping in millions of dollars in infrastructure and people to create something for you to use for free? There is a price you pay, and that is your data, your privacy, your security.
This article gives you a really good in depth look into the ‘Do Not Track’ function and the details of why nearly all sites ignore it.
“Why do we have this meaningless option in browsers? The main reason why Do Not Track, or DNT, as insiders call it, became a useless tool is that the government refused to step in and give it any kind of legal authority. If a telemarketer violates the Do Not Call list, they can be fined up to $16,000 per violation. There is no penalty for ignoring Do Not Track.
In 2010, the Federal Trade Commission endorsed the idea of Do Not Track, but rather than mandating its creation, the Obama administration encouraged industry to figure out how it should work via a “multistakeholder process” that was overseen by W3C, an international non-governmental organization that develops technical standards for the web. It wound up being an absolutely terrible idea.”
““Do Not Track could have succeeded only if there had been some incentive for the ad tech industry to reach a consensus with privacy advocates and other stakeholders—some reason why a failure to reach a negotiated agreement would be a worse outcome for the industry,” said Arvind Narayanan, a professor at Princeton University who was one of the technologists at the table.”
There you have it, “Do Not Track” failed to keep you private because Ad Tech industries failed to reach consensus or had any proper incentive to keep you private, nor any government regulation to force companies to honor “DNT”… your data is money for them. So they need you to keep planting it so they can harvest it.
Even if there is something out there saying you’re not being tracked, and if it’s a free service, guess what, you’re being tracked. By some level you always are. Deleting cookies, disabling GPS, whatever it is, it hasn’t stopped the tracking. But you can keep making layers to protect yourself and keep pushing companies to stop data mining.