Do Not Track header implementations Considered Harmful

The Do Not Track HTTP header is a mechanism that, whenever you visit a website, kindly asks a web server to not track you. It is supposed to become a universal opt-out mechanism that works on all advertising networks to increase your online privacy. This should replace the current practice where you need to set a separate opt-out cookie for every network.

It is currently implemented by three Firefox add-ons: a ‘dedicated’ add-on, NoScript and AdBlock Plus. Sounds great? There are some problems with these add-ons:

The Do Not Track header would certainly be a good mechanism to protect privacy after it is incorporated into a law that is enforced. But until then, civil liberties organisations like EFF will need to lobby for that. The universal opt-out problem is currently an issue for these lobbyists, not for programmers and certainly not for end-users (unless they want to help lobbying).

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