A lot of hype was created all over the web when Microsoft decided to turn Do Not Track feature ‘on’ by default in Internet Explorer 10 (which they eventually disabled later on). Many users were very confused about what the fuss was all about? Well, we are here to demystify it all for you!
What is “Do Not Track”?
Some of you will be shocked to know that your browser tracks all your activities on the net. It records the minutest of details of your every single click, every single web page you visit, the amount of time you spend online and all those details you might not want to share with someone else. And all this happens even without your consent. Your online activities no longer remain private.
Now the most important question – is there any way to stop your browser from collecting this data? This is where Do Not Track feature comes into play. Do Not Track is a technology that enables users to opt out of tracking of websites they visit including analytics services, advertising networks, and social platforms. It is much like Do Not Call registry, which allows you to opt out of unwanted calls. It provides you with a single, simple, persistent choice to opt out of third-party web tracking.
How to enable Do Not Track in your browser?
Now the question that comes to your mind is how you can enable this feature on your browsers. Well, enabling this feature requires different steps for different browsers. So, let’s start with Internet Explorer.
(a) Internet Explorer
To activate Do Not track on IE 9 or IE 10, you need to follow these steps:
1. Launch IE and click on the Settings button given on the right side of the browser, below the Close button.
2. Then go to the Safety menu and select Tracking Protection.
3. Here, you will be presented with a new window. Go to the Tracking Protection menu which is available on the left panel. Here, select the Your Personalized list option present on the right side and select the Enable button given in the lower right corner.
That’s it. You have successfully enabled DNT on IE.
1. Launch Firefox and go to Options menu.
2. Here switch to Privacy tab and tick the box which says Tell Websites I do not want to be tracked.
(c) Google Chrome
Unfortunately, Google Chrome does not have a built in option to activate Do Not Track. But you can install DNT addon to have this feature. All you need to do is just click the Add to Chrome button on the addons page linked above and it will automatically install the addon.
Update: Finally, Google has decide to add the Do Not Track button. You can very easily activate by doing the following:
1. Type in the address bar chrome://chrome/settings/
2. Go to advanced settings
3. Under privacy, you will find “Send a ‘Do Not Track’ request with your browsing traffic.
4. Check it and you are done!
1. Launch Opera. Then go to Settings menu and select Preferences.
2. Here, switch to Advanced tab.
3. Then go to the security menu available on the left panel and check the box which says Ask Website not to track me, present on the right.
This will enable DNT in Opera.
The Flip side of DNT
Do Not Track feature is not that effective as there is no law which could restrict the third party data collectors from collecting the data even if Do Not Track is turned on. They can still collect your data without your consent. So, this purely depends on the will of the third party, leaving users with no choice. Moreover, the Do Not Track feature is purely symbolic and confusing.
But the good news is that the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) and the major browser vendors are aware that Do Not Track feature is not a permanent solution and are all actively working to solve it. All we can do now is hope that they will come up with some good solution this time. Till then, watch and enjoy this TED talk by Gary Kovacs, the CEO of Mozilla: