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Understanding "Do Not Track Me"

Updated on August 24, 2015

Maintain Your Privacy Online

Are you being tracked by websites that you haven't even visited? This sounds like a "big brother" scenario, doesn't it? But, it's all too real!

Tracking by websites is an important tool in online marketing. It allows internet marketing systems to post adverts, tailored to your interests, on the internet pages that you visit. You may see, for example, age and gender appropriate adverts on your Facebook page.

If you concerned about internet security, you should be aware that many websites share information about you without your knowledge. We are often wary of clicking on advertising links that take us away to other sites, but in many cases, you don't even have to visit a website for it to be able to find out about you. All because of cookies...

In the past, it has been hard to prevent this because often the opt-outs and tools available were not very reliable or user-friendly. Do Not Track gives us a simple way of opting out of third-party tracking by websites, such as advertising networks and social platforms that we do not visit.

All the photos and pictures on this lens are in the Public Domain.

Video on Do Not Track

What Are These Cookie Things? - do they taste nice?

Sadly these computer cookies are not edible! (oh, for a choc-chip short-cake, right now...)

Browser cookies are small chunks (choc-chips on my mind..?) of information sent by a website and stored by your computer browser. Cookies are used to manage your session on the website, to personalise your experience of the website or to track your browsing habits. Some cookies are very helpful, for example, if you have registered with a website (like Squidoo!), the web server may send a cookie to your browser containing the username you last used to log.

Cookies don't carry viruses or install malware, but tracking cookies are used as a way of compiling long-term records about the websites you visit. This major privacy issue has prompted European and US law makers to take action.

Wikipedia has a good page on cookies, if you want to know more - see links below.

So, What Is Do Not Track?

Some websites have buttons, widgets and other features that allow other websites to collect information about you. These integrated web services mean that websites that you have never visited are able find out about you even if you haven't clicked on the button or widget.

Do Not Track (DNT) is a simple way to let these integrated web services know that you do not want this information collected. Essentially, it is a privacy preference, using an HTTP header that signals your preference to opt-out. The DNT setting is supported by the more recent versions of browsers such as Firefox (version 5+), Safari (version 9+) and Internet Explorer (9+). For Chrome (version 17.0 or higher), you will need a third-party extension to enable DNT.

Your Views On Internet Security

Are you worried about internet security? Is it just hype to make us buy new products?

How do I use Do Not Track?

The Do Not Track feature is not usually enabled by default. So, if you want to use it, you must enable it.

In Firefox, you will need to go to the Privacy pane. On Windows, you go to Tools > Options > Privacy. Find the box next to "Tell websites I do not want to be tracked", and click it.

The Twitter Help Center gives information on how to enable DNT in different types of browser. I give the link below.

How the Websites Support Do Not Track

If you have enabled DNT, websites that support DNT will remove the cookie that sends information to in its network or "ecosystem". The company may try to put you off doing this by telling you how it prevent sthem from "tailoring" their website or the suggestions they might make to you. This is, of course, your choice - you can always read their privacy policy before you decide.

Are you the next James Bond?

This little gadget could help you with your next mission...

Enabling "Do Not Track" in Chrome, Firefox and other Browsers

Can you share any useful tips on internet security?

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    • profile image

      khrysmi 3 years ago

      good information

    • profile image

      grannysage 4 years ago

      Very helpful. Does it take away the cookies from everything, such as Squidoo, where we would want them to remember us?

    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 5 years ago

      Very important advice Blessed

    • profile image

      Gail47 5 years ago

      Much needed information. Thanks for sharing. I agree with Tolovaj's comment!

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 5 years ago

      Until I read this, and checked my settings, I'd forgotten that I had already enabled dnt. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 5 years ago from Land of Aloha

      What Tolovaj said below was excellent advice!

    • savateuse profile image

      savateuse 5 years ago

      @TolovajWordsmith: Very important advice!

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 5 years ago from Ljubljana

      Don't share on the internet anything about yourself you wouldn't share with a complete stranger on the street.

    • sunny saib profile image

      sunny saib 5 years ago

      keep clearing your browser's temporary data / cookies regularly.. and never use Internet Explorer! i have always had bad experiences with it! :-|

    • savateuse profile image

      savateuse 5 years ago

      @XxSadieLadyxX: Thanks!

    • XxSadieLadyxX profile image

      XxSadieLadyxX 5 years ago

      Good info

    • savateuse profile image

      savateuse 5 years ago

      @Zebedee32: Thanks for visiting!

    • Zebedee32 profile image

      Zebedee32 5 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this info with us.