While a “Do Not Track” setting has become standard in most browsers today, including Chrome, Safari, and Firefox, it’s commonly known that internet advertisers still have ways of tracking users. Advertisers profit from tracking the browsing history of users, and whether users have turned the Do Not Track setting on or not, many will ignore it altogether in their quest for data. That’s why the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has announced it’s building a stronger standard for the setting, aimed to protecting user privacy.
The EFF has said it’s partnered with a number of other companies that are dedicated to improving privacy standards, including Adblock, Medium, Mixpanel, DuckDuckGo, and the online privacy experts at Disconnect. But the new Do Not Track standards are not just about stopping advertisers that secretly continue to track users, but also about convincing advertisers to honor users’ requests.
The need for advertisers to track users and show relevant ads, along with companies being dependent on ad revenue, isn’t going to go away anytime soon. But, as Disconnect’s CEO Casey Oppenheim mentions, it’s the lack of compromise on Do Not Track that has led to the widespread usage of ad blockers, which is hurting both advertisers and websites.
“Our hope is that this new DNT approach will protect a consumer’s right to privacy and incentivize advertisers to respect user choice, paving a path that allows privacy and advertising to coexist,” Oppenheim continued.
The EFF says the new standard will work together with software that blocks ads and trackers in order to protect users, as well as let website domains indicate if they support Do Not Track. This second feature will allow privacy blocking software to know how strongly it should react in blocking or anonymizing communication with the site.