Ever wondered what the ‘Do Not Track’ (DNT Settings) in your browser do?
It turns out, they do pretty much nothing.
In a recent report, the privacy-friendly search engine DuckDuckGo revealed that this setting sends a special signal to websites, ad networks, plugins and web services telling them to stop tracking your activity.
But, in reality, the special signal is nothing more than a voluntary signal which is usually not respected by websites.
They track you anyway.
While the DNT browser settings are turned off by default in most browsers, according to the latest survey by DuckDuckGo in November 2018, out of 503 U.S. adults studied, 23.1% users had turned on DNT settings.
Another interesting fact revealed that 41.4% users who had enabled DNT Settings didn’t know that it was only sending a suggestion signal that websites could just ignore.
When users were informed about actual working and limitations of DNT settings, approximately 75% of U.S. adults marked it as a serious issue, suggesting that it’s ‘Important’ or ‘Very Important’ that companies should respect the privacy signal.
DuckDuckGo suggests that the idea of a Do-Not-Track setting is pretty much manipulating users into thinking that it’s working and there’s a discrepancy between the name of the feature and how it actually works.
The issue has been raised to Federal Government by the company, with a hope towards the introduction of regulations that make it mandatory for web services to respect the signals.
The company also concluded that 71.9% of U.S. adults are in favor of making it compulsory for web services to accept the “Do-Not-Track” feature when users select it.
It clearly indicates that several websites and web services are taking people’s privacy lightly and it’s a matter of concern for Internet users.
Just like ‘Incognito’ or Private mode, the DNT Setting is a common feature among web browsers.
DuckDuckGo clearly stated that DNT Settings are nothing more than a hoax which needs to be updated and that Google must educate users about it.
Meanwhile, Apple is planning to remove misleading DNT settings from Safari altogether.