Do Not Track

Steve Smith talks about Do Not Track headers, and the many issues and problems with this latest header request.

The browser header meant to tell advertisers you do not want to be tracked, anymore.

Episode # 3-42 available on : Youtube Blip.tv Vimeo 
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Released: July 13, 2013

The Do Not Track header, is a new way of telling web-sites, you do not wish to be tracked, intended for third party advertisers who use a multitude of databases of collected information on you and your browsing patterns to target you with advertisements that fit your relative profile.

While these advertisements are actually, for the most part, related to your points of interest, it can be creepy and unsettling for anyone to be the target of any such personalized advertisements. It may, also, feel like your right to privacy is being ignored when companies track, record, and sell your personal information for profit, in which you do not share a gain.

It is for this reason that the Do Not Track header was created, and with much criticism and ignorance. For this reason, we have decided to enlighten people to the truth of Do Not Track.

The Do Not Tracker header is only a variable, represented by either a 0 or a 1. Do Not Track is considered on, when the header is represented with a 1.

Do Not Track is not legally binding or enforceable. As this remains a variable, there is no way to confirm usage and awareness, without viewing the code available, and most programs are considered secret and / or copyrighted. And, in order, to force a company to show code they do wish not to publish, you will have to demand the right to see it with an appeal to the courts for the information or programmed code. Good luck there.

The Do Not Track header is not ON by default. In fact, if ever a browser were to turn it on by default, the advertisement companies would simply ignore that series of browsers, even those who wish for this setting to be on.

The Do Not Tracker header is no where near as effective as blocking all cookies, using anonymizers, using a different IP address through a VPN, and changing or nulling all headers coming from your browser. In fact, even with cookies completely blocked, browser fingerprinting can be used to identify your computer.

Do Not Track, being a variable, is probably not programmed into every web-site yet, and for this, even when turned on, web-sites can be ignorant or unaware of that header, as it neither looks for it, or know what to do with that variable.

Now, with that pointed out, here are three questions and answers to help all of you with Do Not Track headers and tracking, in general.

When I block third party cookies, does it block all other web-sites other than the one I am on?

No, only web-sites you have visited before, like Facebook, Twitter, or Google, can use cookies in a third party pretext. All other web-sites you have never gone to, are denied the right, by the browser, to save a tracking cookie to your browser.

Should I turn on Do Not Track?

Yes, even if very few web-sites are aware of this variable, and the functionality is limited to either a 0 or a 1, there may be a time when all or most legitimate web-sites will respect this header request. If this widely available header request is not used, it may ultimately be ignored, and forgotten, as well.

How do I become completely anonymous online?

This is complicated, and very much impossible. It would require you to change your IP address, route your traffic through one or more VPNs, block all cookies, and nullify all request and browser headers from your computer to also prevent browser fingerprinting. This may ultimately be a waste of your time, if you login anywhere, since you will be acknowledging who you are.

Next week, I will be talking about and demonstrating how to do an image search.

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Host : Steve Smith | Music : Jonny Lee Hart | Editor : Steve Smith | Producer : Zed Axis Productions

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Posted by ask
July 13, 2013

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