Do Not Track …will you watch my back?

FootprintsOnce again Microsoft has caused a commotion in the tech world foreshadowing that the new Internet Explorer 10 will entail the Do Not Track as a default setting. The presage has got the audience divided into the ones applauding the news and the skeptic ones who see the cracks and holes in this initiative. So if you wish to debar any occurrences of being ensnared by a hacker or simply plan on hacking a computer using a keystroke logger or PC monitoring software in plain good faith, you ought to know about Do Not Track.

 

What is do not Track?

Do not Track is basically a tech standard requiring Web users’ approval relating to monitoring of their online activities, prompting for their assent. Simply put activating the browser with this setting leads to sending an HTTP header to the remote servers paired with other requests similar to requests for images and pages, etc. including the items that put together form the composite of a Web page. As it would follow the header is tagged DNT.

The header value “0” corresponds to affirmative from the user regarding the consent to tracked, while “1” represents negative. If the user doesn’t clarify his/her preferences it leads to the header going undetected. It’s basically just the binary game for simple minded folks, even though the Do Not Track has more up its sleeve

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Everybody say ease

As they Do Not Track effectuation is simple it follows that browsers would rush for the standards process without deliberating about initial support or completing standardization. Internet Explorer 9 was the first to go for the kill, closely followed by Opera, Firefox, and Safari. While Google walks a different path for now, “Keep My Opt-Outs” already exceeds them.

Therefore, the rivaling browsers might feel like undergoing a metamorphosis but they will only wake up from their slumber and leave the chrysalis to find out they don’t actually have any wings as the websites rely on code support to pick out the DNT headers, so considering they don’t change policies regarding users’ privacy, Do Not Track would not be able to achieve squat.

 

Do they track or sidetrack?

Considering that irrespective of Do Not Track, websites would be allowed to track anything as per their discretion so what is it that users actually avoid? The advertisements? Of course not, so when you go to a website, the operators on the other end would make sure to advertise the products adamantly and getting out whatever they can from the users, by hook or by crook.

In the same fashion, DNT would fail to be of any use through controls from social networking sites or social plug ins. Social networking sites will be in a position not to pay any attention whatsoever to DNT as an account on them would entail that the site would consider it “first party” and same follows for third party advertising as well.

 

It does protect from something…right?

In case you are wondering as to what happens with the information already stacked by websites in the past or about deleting data from Facebook or even about a general agreement about websites’ reaction towards DNT flag, well your response is as good as mine. Given the ease with which Do Not Track can be surpassed it would be safe to ascertain that in terms of providing safeguard against hacking it’s not going to be of much help.

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Author: Beth Janick

Beth's work in the field of spy apps such as Blackberry spy software, Android spyware etc. has been getting a lot of traction of late. Her articles on monitoring apps have gotten a lot of attention and continue to wow her readers.

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