Trust no one!

The DNT (Do Not Track) feature you often see pop up on various sites does not actually work!

A new study (Forrester Research) has found that the DNT feature in web browsers, which is supposed to shield you from the spamming ads and data collection, is not actually performing. The DNT was first enforced by data consumer advocates nearly a decade ago but has been recently discovered to be obsolete. Because of this, your browsing information is likely being picked up by ads without your permission.

According to Arvind Narayanan, a professor at Princeton University, and one of the creators of DNT says that the Do Not Track could have potentially 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.

Finally, there’s Gabe Weinberg, who founded the private search engine DuckDuckGo, which doesn’t track user data, agrees that the DNT setting should be removed from all browsers since it doesn’t work. However, he doesn’t think regulation is the answer, at least not in the sense that there should be an enforceable DNT requirement for browsers.

He proposes instead, companies like Google should be forced to clarify further what type of information it collects and why. By putting this information out front, companies might feel more pressure to do the right thing.

What do you think should be done? Let us know about your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

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