If you are a geek or a bit serious about online privacy, you must be familiar with the term “Do Not Track”, a new kind of privacy term used my modern browsers and websites. As per I guess, most people spotted the term first when installing Windows 8, where it asks the user whether to keep enabled or disable Do Not Track on Internet Explorer, though Mozilla was in the first place to implement Do Not Track in Firefox.
What is “Do Not Track”
“Do Not Track” (DNT in short) is a user changeable preference in web browsers that users can set to tell websites and web applications that the he or she “don’t want to be tracked”. This enables users opt out of tracking by websites they visit using the browser. Tracking is done in various ways including tracking of user behaviour, web analytics to gather user information, tracking user data to target relevant ads depending on user’s interest, etc.
From social networks to advertising firms, all are involved in tracking in one way or another who are using or visiting their service.
Pros of “Do Not Track”
If a website or web service respects your DNT preference, it will not track your activity, interest and behaviour. This should improve your online privacy and give you extra confidence while browsing online. Your information are not gathered this way.
Cons of “Do Not Track”
- This is an important fact of DNT. Turning on Do Not Track on your web browser simply means you are telling websites that they should not track you. This is a kind of request. That means it will not block any website from tracking you, nor prevent them. It’s up to a web service or website if they should obey your request or not. So you can’t rely on this preference on your browser.
- Another downside of turning on Do Not Track is, if a website or ad service serves personalized service or content this is based on tracking, you could end up getting irrelevant content if they do not track you. Also, Do not Track is not similar to private browsing.
How DNT works
If you tuned on DNT on your browser, the browser will add an HTTP header (specific to DNT) to every request you make to load a webpage. Thus the websites can read your DNT request. The method is universal.
Today’s all modern browsers come with DNT preference. DNT is turned on by default on Internet Explorer unless you choose to disable it while upgrading windows. On other browsers, you need to turn it on manually. Here are visual guides on how you can enable DNT on popular browsers. Before proceeding, make sure you have the latest version of the browser.
How to Enable “Do Not Track” on Chrome
1. Open up Chrome Settings from Chrome Control menu button from top-right corner.
2. In the settings page, click “Show advanced settings…”.
3. In the Advanced settings page, under privacy section, notice the option Send a “Do Not Track” request with your browsing traffic. Enable it as I did:
Done! From now on, Chrome will send Do Not track request with every traffic.
How to Enable “Do Not Track” on Firefox
1. Go to Options from Firefox menu.
2. In the Options page, go to Privacy tab. Under Tracking section, choose “Tell sites that I do not want to be tracked”.
You are done enabling DNT on Firefox.
Enable “Do Not Track” on Internet Explorer
Note: If you are on Windows XP, the latest version for you is IE 8 which doesn’t come with DNT option. DNT was introduced starting from IE 9.
If you are using Windows 7, 8, 8.1 or any higher version, you can all upgrade to Internet Explorer 11 or higher. Here’s how to enable DNT on IE 11:
From Tools menu, go to Safety. There, click “Turn on Do Not Track Requests”.
That’s it! Click it again to disable it. Learn more about DNT on different version of IE at Microsoft page. They have guided all supported IE versions.
Note: Under Safety option, if you choose Turn on Tracking Protection, You can completely block sites from tracking you, no matter they want or not. Learn more about tracking protection from Microsoft’s page which describes all supported IE versions.
Enable “Do Not Track” on Opera Browser
Opera introduced DNT on Opera starting from Opera 12. So if you are using any lower version, you can’t have option to enable Do Not Track on Opera.
1. Go to Opera Settings from Opera control menu.
2. In Settings page, under Privacy & security section, enable Send a ‘Do Not Track’ request with my browsing traffic.
You are done!
Enable “Do Not Track” on Apple’s Safari
Make sure you are using at least Safari 6 or higher.
1. Go to Safari menu and open Preference.
2. Under Privacy tab, check the box next to “Ask websites not to track me”.
Do Not Track is a request that you tell web sites that you are not a fan of being tracked via your browser. Web applications, ads and tracking services decide whether to track you or not. It’s not that serious that it sounds.