back to article Microsoft drops Do Not Track default from Internet Explorer

Microsoft has reversed its position on the contentious Do Not Track (DNT) browser feature, saying Internet Explorer will no longer send DNT signals to websites by default. "Put simply, we are updating our approach to DNT to eliminate any misunderstanding about whether our chosen implementation will comply with the W3C standard …

  1. moiety

    "Right now, when a consumer puts Do Not Track in the header, we don't know what they mean,"

    What the fuck do you think it means? Read a bloody dictionary.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They could look up Yahoo while they're at it: "Yahoos are primitive creatures obsessed with "pretty stones" as Defoe considered them...

      1. bearcat32

        they are not coward

        anonymous is not coward they are protecting there selves from the hitaus men that would want us not to do any thing but they mean plans to destory the common people and they are here . do u have any idea how mean the cia is or how about the bilards or the fema that wants to put the people in camps to burn us alive like hilter and u need to educate ur selve

      2. Tim99 Silver badge

        @AC

        They could look up Yahoo while they're at it: "Yahoos are primitive creatures obsessed with "pretty stones" as Defoe considered them...

        Lemuel Gulliver, Gulliver's Travels Part IV: A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms (1715) by Jonathan Swift.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @AC

          by Jonathan Swift.

          Oops, quite right. Sorry.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      DNT is an interesting experiment. An experiment made more useless by enabling it for all users by default. By not enabling it by default, it could be said that W3C and everyone are penalizing unsophisticated users. However unless DNT is respected by force of law, it doesn't matter anyway, since it can simply be ignored by the ad industry.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "it can simply be ignored by the ad industry."

        s/can/will/

    3. jonathanb Silver badge

      What the fuck do you think it means? Read a bloody dictionary.

      You can't expect them to understand something when their livelihood depends on them not understanding it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "You can't expect them to understand something when their livelihood consumption depends on them not understanding it."

        W3C has always pushed for web standards, and now that privacy theft is the new web standard... Can't say this is a surprise. Back when the W3C pushed for things like XHTML I felt some sort confidence in them for the fact that what they were pushing wasn't what corporations were using (but look were that got us :-/). But now in the wake of the great privacy steal, I think they are just another ferry man. I can't prove this, however there is little to disprove it.

        Basically, trust no one right now setting standards for you on your behalf, especially when they haven't even bothered to ask you!!! That is the real mystery, who asked the W3C to push for something else, and how exactly was the evidenced produced?

    4. tom dial Silver badge

      The meaning of the DNT signal is ambiguous if Microsoft makes it the default: it may mean that the user or whoever set up the system consciously selected that, or it may mean the PC was set up using the Microsoft default. If the default (for all browsers) is to not set the DNT switch, it is an unambiguous signal when it is present.

      I also had a knee-jerk reaction that no tracking should be the default, but see the point of the recommended default, especially as it is only a request and gives web sites a slightly plausible excuse to ignore it.

      I never bothered to enable it because my browsing activity is pretty innocuous and I don't care too much one way or the other about tracking. AdBlock+ seems to deal reasonably with ads, including the 3 it is blocking now.

      1. Oninoshiko

        @tom Dial

        So, privacy should be opt-in? I think you all (and the ad industry, and the W3C) have it completely ass-backward. It should be a "Stalk me" flag. Honestly, the big problem is the damn flags don't DO anything; you're still trusting a morally bankrupt industry to do the right thing.

        Didn't Bill Hicks have something to say about ad men?

  2. James 51 Silver badge

    This is ine time Microsoft is on the right side of the argumentant. DNT should be the default (and ISPs shouldn't be adding anything to the headers to circumvent it).

    1. DougS Silver badge

      No

      If you make it the default, web sites will just ignore it saying "the user didn't intend to set it like that". If the default is off, then anyone who has DNT set most definitely DID intend to set that, and that argument that they "didn't mean to" falls flat.

      What is the point of a setting like that if it defaults to not allowing tracking? No one is going to enable that.

      1. Mike Bell

        Re: No

        What's wrong with legislating so that privacy is assumed to be the case by default? If websites claim confusion because the user's intents aren't clear, that's tough. Unless DNT is false or absent in the browser's request header, websites should be obliged not to track the user, with punitive measures for failure to comply.

        The site operators can easily provide instructions for idiots to permit tracking.

        In my opinion, a move like this would be far more useful than being required to plaster silly warnings about cookies on websites. Come on EU, crack the whip!

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: No

          If you LEGISLATE it, sure. Do not track is not a legal requirement, it is "please do this because I'm asking nicely, but I know I can't hold you to it". If you make it universal, they'll just ignore it. If you make a law, that's great, but that's an option only available to those of you in the EU. In the US the odds of such a law are zero.

          1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

            Re: No

            "If you make a law, that's great, but that's an option only available to those of you in the EU. In the US the odds of such a law are zero."

            Then get rid of your useless, corrupt, inept and socially backwards rulers. Stop wasting your time preventing gay people from marrying and start finding a way to provide health care to your people universally and at the same cost per citizen as the rest of the civilized world. Stop locking up your people for stupid petty shit and start educating them instead, so that they aren't trapped in a life of poverty that requires crime for subsistence.

            In short, stop treating your populace as peasantry to be kept ignorant and oppressed and maybe - just maybe - your country wouldn't suck out loud. Of course, that would me throwing all the idiots who believe in supply side economics or want a theocracy into the ocean, but to be perfectly honest you lot should be doing that as a matter of course.

            1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

              Re: No

              Ouch! A bit(!) harsh on poor Doug who actually made a good point - without legislation, no company is going to honour a DNT setting if it defaults to on. - it's going to be hard enough as it is when it defaults to unset!

              I'm all for privacy, hate tracking, and I'm sure Doug does too - that doesn't mean he's incorrect.

              As an aside, I'd trust any server-side DNT as much as I would a Welshman at a sheepfarm - legalized or not.. The worst offenders will be those dodgy ones with no care for the law...

              1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                Re: No

                No, the worst offenders are the ones above the law. Then there are some criminals who would track people regardless, but they would be investigated by the law and brought to justice. That's what laws are for.

                Let me put this another way. In Canada there is a phone register where you put your phone number ever 3 or so years and you are on the list for "do not telemarket to me you poxy whoresons". Only newspapers registered charities (usually "can we pick up used household items") and political campaigns are exempt from this law.

                Immediately after implementation the number of irritating phone calls dropped to about 10%. Of those, the "can we pick up used household items" folks are useful because they send a truck round twice a year to pick up stuff you've no use for. Newspapers could fuck off any time - as could politicians - but a call a week from those groups is way better than the 10-20 a night of telemarketers we were getting before.

                Now, there are scammers - mostly based out of the US and India - but you know that they are scammers because they are not respecting the do not call list. You can just hang up on them.

                Most individuals and companies obey the law. They don't want to pay fines or end up in jail. Some organizations (newspapers in this case, technology companies in the case of online advertising) try to have the laws drafted so as not to affect them.

                Only governments and politicians think themselves truly above the law. Everyone else are criminals, and you can ignore them because they are criminals.

                In the case of DNT and online advertising there are whitelists that are assembled and can be fed into things like AdBlock. Compliance with the initative gets you on the white list. Non compliance gets you blocked. One day we may be able to take a blacklist approach, and that would be nice...but it would require laws and proven enforcement before we go there.

                But therein lies the problem: the corrupt governments - namely the US - that won't look after individual liberties. Most especially because they are the worst offenders for infringing on civil liberties.

                So because the almighty US of A refuses to not be a worthless sack of fetid shit, ordinary citizens need to take their own liberties into their own hands. In this case, through methods like Adblock.

                Were laws in place legitimate companies would follow them. Period. They might rail and moan and lobby and campaign, but when all is said and done they'd obey. The risks of not doing so are just too high.

                Unfortunately we can't get laws put in place. The reason is a combination of fatalistic apathy (which the American populace excels at) and a blame-the-victim mentality that is fucking abhorrent.

                We have made serious dents in these sorts of problems in other spheres. We can make serious dents in these problems online as well. Can we completely eliminate the issues? No. But we can make it obvious who are criminals and who are not and implement technologies to isolate those criminals and mitigate the damage they do.

                And for the record, individuals seeking privacy are not the criminals here. Those seeking to infringe the privacy of others are. And for that matter, those who meekly accede to those who want to invade the privacy of us all should be tried as accomplices!

                I wasn't too harsh on Doug at all. If anything, I was far, far too lenient.

                1. tom dial Silver badge

                  Re: No

                  For the US DNC application see

                  https://www.donotcall.gov/

                  It has been available for over a decade. Telemarketers who call numbers on the list, or who do not subscribe to the list and call numbers either on the list or not are subject to a fine that can go as high as $16,000 per call made.

                  1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                    Re: No

                    And if the caller is I'D as international and vanishes the next day?

                    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                      Re: No

                      "And if the caller is I'D as international and vanishes the next day?"

                      Then they succeed in annoying you. That said, you know they're a scam because they aren't obeying the DNC.

                      Just because a given law isn't perfect and doesn't solve every possible use case doesn't mean it isn't a step in the right direction. What would you prefer, a DNC law that is imperfect and in which some scammers make it through or no DNC law at all in which you are irritated dozens of times a night by telemarketers?

                      People who let perfect be the enemy of good are, to my thinking, batshit crazy.

              2. BongoJoe
                Pint

                Re: No

                I'd trust any server-side DNT as much as I would a Welshman at a sheepfarm

                Says a Mr Jones. Care to share something with us?

                1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
                  Thumb Up

                  Re: No

                  "I'd trust any server-side DNT as much as I would a Welshman at a sheepfarm

                  Says a Mr Jones. Care to share something with us?"

                  Yep, Welsh born and bred with a passionate hatred of restraining orders! :)

            2. Dan Paul

              Re: No @ Trevor Potts

              Conversely, some of us could ask you to shut up and quit spouting your Anti-American, Anti-Religious propaganda. You are as big a Nazi as those whom you accuse.

              Maybe then, just maybe; there could be a little civil discourse on this website without YOUR bigotted namecalling of every thing and person you don't like. There is no one on this site that even approaches you in the vitriolic manner that you attack everyone and anyone with a different viewpoint than yours.

              Really, time to get back (or start) on the medication Trevor. You have a lot of anger, too much anger to be let loose in society. Every single post you make is full of it. Not one thing in this world makes you happy.

              1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                Re: No @ Trevor Potts

                Hey, everyone, I made a religious Tea Party type all angry! What a perfect, glorious start to a Monday. I'm so proud!

                Seriously though, Mr. Paul, you can't shame me into thinking I should be tolerant towards bigots. That whole "you're not tolerant unless you tolerate the intolerant" thing is bollocks, and I don't buy it.

                There are lots of things that make me happy. The problem you and I have is that I am made happy by things like "organizations and governments that comply with the UDHR" and "your right to swing ends at the point of my nose". I'm made angry by religions and politics that seek to control people.

                And no, corporations aren't people.

                So, in general, a whole lot of the first world outside of the US, the UK and OZ makes me very happy! Especially Nordic countries. Oh, every country has their flaws, but there are still some pretty great thigns in this world...even great politics!

                But America? I can't see why I would like it, Mr Paul. It's filled with people like you. And there's not a damned thing to like about you.

                As for "bigoted namecalling", I don't particularly see why I should refrain. The whacko loony tunes side of the right wing pulpit certainly doesn't hold back. Why honour them by treating them or their viewpoints as somehow worthy of anything other than utter contempt and extreme prejudice? They don't espouse evidence-based philosophies, ideals, politics or really anything. So why should I spend even a bent iota of time attempting to play nice, use logic or bother with evidence when debating them?

                Attempting to have a rational, evidence-based, logical conversation with someone who honestly believes "because God" is an acceptable answer to something is completely pointless. Similarly, attempting to have such a conversation wtih someone who still believes - against all evidence - that supply side economics works, is just silly.

                The whacko right wing aren't espousing rational philosophies or using rational argumentation. They are using faith and rhetoric! You can't argue against faith and rhetoric with logic and expect anything other than a circular wankfest. So fuck it, skip it, and go straight to simply calling them out for being crazy and then ostracizing them.

                So, you know what? I think I'll keep on keeping on. Making you unhappy and pissing in the cheerios of the types of folks who think they have a "right" to control women's vaginas, people's sexual orientations and how many people of what colour live where. I'll piss off that lot with a shit-eating grin on my face and feel great about myself.

                I've read your own posts, sir. You're pretty damned vitriolic yourself. Of course, you seem to think that's fine, so long as it's "the evil liberals" you're attacking. Well boo fucking hoo. Your entire life philosophy is wrong, and I'm not afraid to call you on it over and over and over and over. Let's dance a dance and weave our tapestry of political interferometry across the Internets, shall we?

                It seems like the thing to do.

                1. Keven E.

                  Thanks, Trevor.

                  "... a little civil discourse on this website without YOUR bigotted namecalling of every thing and person you don't like. There is no one on this site that even approaches you in the vitriolic manner that you attack..."

                  I usually like having fun and making fun, obfuscate things a bit without being specifically dishonest and enjoy a little banter... however... bull* really gets to me, too.

                  No, claiming it's "Anti-Religion" is not "conversley"... it's bull*.

                  Trevor ain't specifically anti-american, yet, again, clearly anti bull*, and thankfully, specifically yours, as you, sir, are a classhole (to say the least)... and are not allowed to use the term Nazi... ever. Get out of our country! We've tried to make progress in the last 100 years, yet certainly not able to enough because of the same old bull* trying hard to go backwards... and we just don't want your bull* around here anymore.

                  BTW- standing still / not progressing IS going backwards.

                  Here's a quote:

                  "..."Maybe the continued media glorification of the hip hop THUG life will result in some nice crackhouse jobs for these new "graduates"."..."

                  Your bull* has been called out. Again.

                2. RyokuMas Silver badge
                  Coffee/keyboard

                  Re: No @ Trevor Potts

                  Holy shit, that was probably one of the best counter-rants I have ever read! What a fantastic start to a post-Easter weekend!

                  1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge
                    Pint

                    Re: No @ Trevor Potts

                    (beer)

      2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: No

        If you make it the default, web sites will just ignore it saying "the user didn't intend to set it like that". If the default is off, then anyone who has DNT set most definitely DID intend to set that, and that argument that they "didn't mean to" falls flat.

        What is the point of a setting like that if it defaults to not allowing tracking? No one is going to enable that.

        Websites shouldn't be tracking you by default. It should be opt in, not opt out. Those that choose otherwise should be dragged up to Mt Erebus and chucked the fuck in.

        1. James 51 Silver badge

          Re: No

          That's why I don't like games workshop and black library websites. You can't go through the site if cookies are disabled, the site greys out and a big banner telling you to enable cookies come down.

      3. The_Idiot

        Re: No

        <

        If you make it the default, web sites will just ignore it saying "the user didn't intend to set it like that"

        >

        So if it is in fact off by default, then web sites should just ignore it being off and not track, since the user 'might not have intended them to track them'? Are there any statistical odds, measurable by modern science, that this side of the same logic would ever have been raised if Microsoft had left it off be default from the beginning?

        Where a function brings advantage to others (and possible risk to the user), then in my view the protocol should be OPT IN by default, not OPT OUT by default. That is, that in this case the Microsoft approach should be the pattern, not the argument. But then - I'm an Idiot (blush).

      4. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: No

        The advertisers are making the assumption that since it's default, no one ever checks it. OTOH, can they positively say that the user didn't look, and said "ah... good. They checked the box for me.". Let's face it, advertisers are weasels and assume that ads add to our "user experience".... which is pure BS from where I sit.

  3. Mark 85 Silver badge

    " the automatic setting would "degrade the experience of the majority of users."

    Nope, not the user's but the advertisers and those who profit from them. DNT has become a joke anyway as most sites ignore it. It's just a feel good setting.... '

    And Yahoo! are idiots.

    1. king of foo

      Call me jaded, but wasn't this Microsoft's intention all along?

      By enabling by default they gave advertisers ammunition to argue against DNT, whilst appearing to support it.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Tsk, tsk

      Typical confusion there. You think the "users" are the people.

      That definition is now obsolete and has been superseded by "the entities who give us money", i.e. the advertisers.

      The people are no longer users, they are targets to be hunted down as efficiently as possible for the good of the users (i.e. their bank account).

      Please update your dictionary accordingly.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. elDog Silver badge

      I'd go a bit farther (further, fuhrer, father) and pop up a warning whenever the user (customer) clicks on a website that doesn't say "I WILL NOT TRACK YOU". If the customer (since that's what we are nowadays) wants, they can disable the TRACK notification globally or per site.

      Just like we can negotiate protocols while exchanging those getting-to-know-you handshakes, perhaps we should require the site to supply a token that indicates that tracking is not performed. If the site is found cheating, public stoning and blacklists would be appropriate.

      1. Someone Else Silver badge
        Holmes

        It's a common misunderstanding...

        If the customer (since that's what we are nowadays) wants, they can disable the TRACK notification globally or per site.

        It's a common misunderstanding that many like you make, but so that you don't make the same mistake again, please note: From the point of view of the likes of Yahoo! and their ilk, we are most certainly not their customers, we are their product.

        1. dorsetknob
          Black Helicopters

          Re: It's a common misunderstanding...

          "" If the customer (since that's what we are nowadays) ""

          Let me Correct your error

          "" If the Product (since that's what we are nowadays) .

          Next thing you know

          when you log on your be issued a Parcel force / UPS tracking number

        2. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: It's a common misunderstanding...

          But if we're the product then we're passive and don't buy anything meaning we never respond to ads making them pointless. We MUST be customers in order to make ads worthwhile.

  5. x 7 Silver badge

    the sooner microsoft buy yahoo and shut it down, the better

    1. Disko
      Flame

      FTFY

      >> the sooner Microsoft buys Yahoo and all go titsup

  6. LDS Silver badge

    You can't trust sites to honor do not track requests or anything alike

    You have to actively block them killing any script, cookie and other crap they throw at your browser.

    Anyway if Yahoos think they can get out of the mud stealing some more data... they will soon be just an entry in Wikipedia.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: You can't trust sites to honor do not track requests or anything alike

      And then they start using ad-blocker-blockers and pay walls...

  7. Camilla Smythe Silver badge

    We have noticed...

    <script>

    We have noticed...That your browser has the Do Not Track flag set. Either you took the decision not to take it up the arse or someone else took it for you.

    --obfuscated code to snaffle various bits of data--

    EAT MY FUCKING COOKIES YOU BITCH. BEND OVER AND TAKE MY CONFECTIONERY YOU MISERABLE FUCKING CUNT. HAVE SOME FUCKING ADVERTS AS WELL!!!! FUCK YOU ALL. BWAH-HA-HA-HA. PROFIT!! SQUEE, SQUEEE, SQUEEEE. OH MY GOD I'VE JUST COME ALL OVER YOUR COMPUTER. CLICK ON YES OR CLICK ON YES BUT IGNORE MY CHOICE.

    </script>

    1. king of foo

      Re: We have noticed...

      Did you just copy/paste this from Facebook's T's & C's page?

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: We have noticed...

        This remind me of the SciFi story where a marketing experiment is run (in a [spoiler]groundhog-day closed-world environment[/spoiler]) to see whether a good, fat heckling by megaphone at 0600 to BUY THE FUCKING FRIDGE YOU SHIT followed by an apology a bit later will actually result in more sales. I can't remember who wrote it though.

  8. Davie Dee

    I'm sorry but who are they actually protecting by ignoring DNT headers? sure as shit isn't the user.

    hands up who wants to be tracked by default? all those who do downvote my post, all those that don't upvote it. lets get some stats on this

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge
      Devil

      Hmm... will our votes be tracked???? Enquiring minds and all that.

      1. ratfox Silver badge

        I want to be tracked

        I want the Register to remember who I am so I don't need to login every time I write a comment. I want Facebook to remember which messages I read so it can only show me the small percentage I'm actually interested in. I want Amazon to remember my tastes in books so they can tell me which of my favorite authors just write a new book. I want Google Now to tell me that XKCD was updated recently.

        That doesn't mean everybody else has to be tracked, though.

  9. Keven E.
    FAIL

    status quasi

    "hands up who wants to be tracked by default?"

    Them asking the question is degrading my experience... considerably. If the marketing team was worth a grain of salt... or it really mattered... or one could proffer any gain from knowing... they'd already know what my answer would "most likely" be. However, ask me the question more than once I'm very likely to give different answers each time (just to mess with the data), and yous really don't want that, do you?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: status quasi

      They can glean information no matter what you answer. Give different answers and they'll know you're deceptive and change tactics.

  10. Captain DaFt

    Yahoo sez:

    "Privacy is not a one size fits all thing."

    Of course, it's fine for users, lousy for ad businesses.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Yahoo sez:

      As far as I'm concerned, one size does fit all. Privacy IS, or IS NOT.

      But I'm not expecting a marketing department to understand that.

  11. RegGuy1

    DNT = AdBlock Plus

    Just install and enable AdBlock Plus.

    I also have No Script that turns off the shit some websites choose to do when you land on their page. There is also a Select Element to Hide option in AdBlock Plus (can't remember if that was an extra addon). But that will allow me to remove the offending rectangle of a web page.

    So, all in all I have lots of ways of telling the ad industry to fuck off. Indeed it is so effective I can't remember the last ad I saw.

    DNT = AdBlock Plus (et al).

    1. phil dude
      Coat

      Re: DNT = AdBlock Plus

      mod-up, me too.

      Point is ads must be phenomenally ineffective. As far as I can tell they seem to be off target all the time...

      Does anyone know why ads are so crap?

      P.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: DNT = AdBlock Plus

        Take a walk to the nearest marketing department.... after about 5 minutes, you'll understand it.

      2. John Tserkezis

        Re: DNT = AdBlock Plus

        "Does anyone know why ads are so crap?"

        Firstly, it's still easier, cheaper, faster and more effective to blanket bomb the users with every ad they have, rather than use specific targeted ads. Why? Holy crap, I wonder why? I'll tell you why, they found the holy grail of advertisting, "targeted advertising" is a monumental waste of time after all.

        Soooo, that's why it's still easier, cheaper, faster and more effective to blanket bomb the users with every ad they have.

      3. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: DNT = AdBlock Plus

        >Does anyone know why ads are so crap?

        Ads aren't there to sell you stuff. Ads are there to stop other people selling you stuff.

    2. Stuart Moore

      Re: DNT = AdBlock Plus

      I put up without AdBlockPlus for a while (websites have to pay their costs) - until I had too many ads with autoplaying video and audio; that is not on. Even worse than the horrible ones that expand as you're reading down the page. AdBlockPlus is back and helps a lot.

      So sorry those who want to advertise; a few of you have ruined it for the rest of you.

    3. beep54

      Re: DNT = AdBlock Plus

      The sad thing is that now AdBlock Plus uses a whitelist, i.e. they've been gotten to. On a brighter note, there is AdBlock Edge, which is Plus without the whitelist (fork of a fork....).

    4. Mike Bell

      Re: DNT = AdBlock Plus

      DNT and AdBlock Plus are not the same.

      For one thing AdBlock Plus is not available to every browser and device.

      For another, there are many ways your activity can be tracked. See this El Reg article from 2010.

      Does your browser pass the Unique browser test?

      1. tom dial Silver badge

        Re: DNT = AdBlock Plus

        @Mike Bell: Good point, and thanks for the references. FWIW I seem to be quite trackable, with browsers that supply 66+ (Chrome) to 70+ bits (Firefox) in various categories, the most significant of which seem to be the fonts and plugins.

    5. Wade Burchette

      Re: DNT = AdBlock Plus

      I like Ghostery better than AdBlock. Ghostery blocks ads from tracking you, not ads themselves. The side-effect is that many ads are blocked because they only work if they track you. Some ads do remain with Ghostery.

      I have a few rules for advertisements before I will pay attention to them: (1) Absolutely no tracking in any way, shape, or form, no exception. (2) Absolutely no auto-play videos, except when I click on a link for a video. The ad before the video is fine but it may only start when I choose to view the video. (3) Absolutely no geo-location at all. No "[city name] man saves hundreds on car insurance" type ads, which usually feature some creepy animated gif. (4) The ad may not at any time take up all or part of a website so that it blocks the view of the website.

      If TV and radio can survive without tracking ads, why can't the internet?

    6. SVV Silver badge

      Re: DNT = AdBlock Plus

      You need Privacy Suite and Quick Java too if you're using Firefox. Quick Java is especially good, disable / enable all Javascript, Java, Flash, Silverlight and even Images quickly from a toolbar button which opens a quick drop-down menu. Clean, crap free browsing guaranteed and noticably faster too even with broadband. Then turn things back on instantly as and when you need them.

      The only practical solution I've found since a "web standard" that says "please don't send me all the crap you need to justify your 'business model' or I'll be mildly miffed if you do which actually I know you're going to do anyway" was naive / imbecilic from the start.

      Extra mod points for the first post accusing me of virtually STEALING from all these virtuous businesses by not viewing the crap that 95% of users are too ill-informed to know that they don't have to.

  12. Kev99 Bronze badge

    Money talks and it looks like the W3C got bought off even easier than Congress.

  13. dephormation.org.uk
    Facepalm

    DNT is a mirage.

    Begging the crooked frauds running the advertising industry not to track you is just micturating in the direction of the prevailing wind.

    Even the ICO don't comply with DNT requests. So who are you going to complain to if the ad industry laugh in your face when you discover you've been taken for a fool?

    Like the ludicrous cookie law.

    There is a much simpler solution that the ad industry don't want... Outlaw the creation of surveillance databases of personal data & communications data without the explicit consent of data subjects.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: DNT is a mirage.

      They'll never be outlawed because they'll just go international, even if it means bribing some hodunk country to change its laws.

  14. Sureo

    Why should they respect your privacy (and give up the opportunity to monetize you) when they provide you with "free" services? If privacy were legislated, those free services might disappear. Most users like the services, indeed have come to depend on them, and don't think it costs them anything.

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      A company can advertise and receive revenue from impressions and clickthroughs without tracking a user across multiple sites.

      DO NOT TRACK != DO NOT ADVERTISE

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "If privacy were legislated, those free services might disappear. Most users like the services, indeed have come to depend on them, and don't think it costs them anything."

      As per another comment, you're confusing tracking & advertising. However with respect to advertising there's a workaround. What's needed is a browser add-in that will accept the adds without displaying them & even generate click-throughs without displaying the results. The user would be able to set a cap of the amount of data actually accepted. Everybody wins. The users don't get pissed off by ads. The websites get paid. The advertisers gain by not LOSING business by pissing off potential customers.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        While what you say is all well and good and in a perfect world it might work that way. However, those that track and ignore the "Do not track" are probably missing the "ethic's gene".

        Go back a bit, to when anyplace you bought something from automatically added you to their mailing list and promptly sold it to 3-rd party folks in order to "enhance your internet experience" with spam. Some laws were passed and those things had to be "opt in" instead of "opt out" (if the "out" option was even available. So.. they marketing types promptly complied and added check boxes so you could opt-in for spam. A short time later, the boxes were "pre-checked" because they just knew you were looking forward to a inbox full of their (and their 3-rd party buddies') spam. On some sites, those check boxes are well buried.

        The point is... pass some laws and advertisers, etc. will find a work around. After all they'll tell you, most people want advertising. The rational I heard one time was "the Super Bowl" experience. One helluva lot of folks watch that game here in the US just for the ads. The game is irrelevant to them.

        This just isn't about ads, this about privacy. I'm sure Google ignores the "do not track" and can willingly target (in a carpet bomb sense) you with a zillion ads.

      2. Charles 9 Silver badge

        "What's needed is a browser add-in that will accept the adds without displaying them & even generate click-throughs without displaying the results."

        Credits to Milo's it'll soon be followed by a Turing Test to make sure the click-throughs are human.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "If privacy were legislated, those free services might disappear."

      There's a serious discussion on privacy that needs to be had; no one in the industry is interested in having it while they can simply take what they want without penalty and ride roughshod over regulators and users.

      I've reached the conclusion that the only way that conversation is going to be had at all is if the sites/ad-pimps incomes tank or data quality declines to the point of useless, and they're forced to reach an accommodation. If that means a lot of sites are going to disappear, then so be it. Much of what would go is frankly crap, and those that adapt to respect privacy should actually thrive - to be honest, I couldn't really care less which, because one way or another the current situation is unsustainable and oppressive, and I hate to think where we'll end up if we allow it to persist.

      This is one of those rare occasions when users as a group, using the growing number of blocking tools available, actually have an opportunity to have a profound effect on how this all actually pans out. We miss the opportunity at our peril.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        What about the likes of Google who do provide actual bona fide services that have little or no viable substitutes? You're talking about a lot of potential collateral damage.

  15. The BigYin

    MS was right for once

    DNT should be the default. Just like "no mail from you or third parties" should also be the default.

    But in this age of privacy invasion, they are not.

    Hence more people use ad-blockers etc and the advertisers make life worse for themselves.

  16. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Yahoo's bright young things have redesigned their UI to the point the "user experience" could not possibly degrade further.

  17. DerekCurrie
    Thumb Down

    :-P Pththththth!

    We are left to fend for ourselves against surveillance of our lives by others without our permission.

    But seriously, few of the corporate oligarchs gave a rat's about our wishes, making 'Do Not Track' pretty much a sad joke.

    Fight back by investigating all the ECMAScript (Javascript) and cookie control applications/plugins/addons/extenstions that we can use while surfing the net. I have a battery of them and enjoy the lovely privacy they maintain, according to MY wishes. :-D

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: :-P Pththththth!

      And when they inevitably fight back by using ad blocker blockers?

  18. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Big Brother

    The winged monkeys will restore equlibrium

    Actually, not monkeys, but drones, operated by ordinary people and sent to the offices and homes of those who declare "privacy is dead" to record and post the history of their every move.

  19. VinceH Silver badge

    "Yahoo! dropped support for the tech from all of its websites last year, saying the standards were too murky to be useful thinking 'Ha! Thanks, Microsoft - you've given us plausible deniability!'"

    Fixed that!

  20. Alan Denman

    Sounds about right.

    Those that set it get their rights whilst those who have IE default get ignored because no one knows if they know their rights.

    The user solution was to use a different browser and set your DNT right.

    If the internet world had started in a DNT world then OK but Microsoft were really turning back the clock for their own personal gain via a web livelihood peril.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    'Yahoo! went as far as to say it would ignore IE's DNT signals outright, saying the automatic setting would "degrade the experience of the majority of users."'

    And I'm going as far as to say that I am ignoring Yahoo! outright as not doing so would "degrade my experience for the majority of time."

    Fuck you Yahoo! Die already.

  22. Simon B
    Flame

    "... websites that receive a DNT signal from the new browsers could argue that it doesn't reflect the users' preference, and therefore, choose not to honor it," Lynch said.

    What a load of bollox. I didn't choose to be spammed by websites either Lynch, auto opt in by default to send me junk doesn't reflect users preferences either but I bet you still do it!!! Wish I could choose not to honor it. Twat.

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