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EFF creates a stronger ‘Do Not Track’ standard to stop unwanted tracking once and for all

Zach Epstein
August 4th, 2015 at 8:00 AM
Privacy Guard

Unless you take some fairly serious steps to guard your privacy, at least some of your web browsing each day is being tracked. We promise. Advertisers stand to make big bucks by learning as much as possible about our browsing habits, and precious little can stop them. In fact, as we learned several years ago, webgoers can’t even use the “Do Not Track” setting available in popular browsers to guard their privacy, because many advertisers still secretly track users either way.

Useless though “Do Not Track” may be, don’t despair. While virtual private networks might be the safest way to browse today, the protectors of the Internet over at the Electronic Frontier Foundation have announced the creation of a new, more effective Do Not Track feature that will actually stop advertisers from spying on people without their knowledge.

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Together with the online privacy experts at Disconnect and a coalition of companies dedicated to improving privacy on the web, the EFF has created a stronger Do Not Track standard. According to the group, the new standard not only provides better protection against advertisers that secretly track people as they browse the web, but also incentivize advertisers to stop spying on users all together.

“We are greatly pleased that so many important Web services are committed to this powerful new implementation of Do Not Track, giving their users a clear opt-out from stealthy online tracking and the exploitation of their reading history,” EFF’s Chief Computer Scientist Peter Eckersley said in a news release. “These companies understand that clear and fair practices around analytics and advertising are essential not only for privacy but for the future of online commerce.”

The EFF is joined in its efforts by DuckDuckGo, AdBlock, Medium and Mixpanel. The coalition’s goal is not an unrealistic one — advertisers need to track users in order to serve relevant ads and increase revenue, and this won’t change anytime soon. Users who specifically request to not be tracked, however, should not be tracked.

“The failure of the ad industry and privacy groups to reach a compromise on DNT has led to a viral surge in ad blocking, massive losses for Internet companies dependent on ad revenue, and increasingly malicious methods of tracking users and surfacing advertisements online,” Disconnect CEO Casey Oppenheim said in a statement. “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.”

Details surrounding the EFF’s new Do Not Track standard can be found by following the link below in our source section.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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