All the latest UK technology news, reviews and analysis


'Do Not Track' system rapped over lack of renown

22 May 2012
An eye in close-up superimposted by a screen of random numbers

The effectiveness of user privacy system, 'Do Not Track' (DNT) has been questioned by a prominent security expert, who argued that lack of user awareness is undermining the system.

The warning came from SANS Institute chief research officer Johannes Ullrich. He said that the lack of user awareness and requirement to opt-in nature would limit the DNT system.

DNT allows for users to opt out of tracking by various internet sites, including analytics services, advertising networks, and social platforms. By enabling a special HTML header in their browser preferences, users can request that sites refrain from tracking their activity.

Despite its support in internet browsers such as Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari, DNT has yet to be adopted by many third-party websites. Experts believe the initiative is being held back because of its voluntary nature and lack of consumer awareness.

"There is no technical means to enforce use of the DNT header. Some legal protections are in the works, but as usual they will probably only apply to legitimate advertisers who are likely going to comply,' Ullrich said in a blog post.

"DNT will only matter if enough advertisers sign up to respect it."

Ullrich contends that the biggest issues facing DNT are the initiatives' optional nature and the programmes lack of user awareness. DNT has found some support from companies like Twitter, but has yet to be embraced by the larger market.

"The "Do Not Track" header is usually not enabled by default," continued Ullrich. "I do not think many users know about it, or how to enable it."

DNT's slow adoption comes in spite of the White Houses urging sites to adopt the functionality. Back in 2009 US president Obama threw his support behind DNT with the creation of the "Consumer Privacy Bill of Right."

  • Comment  
  • Tweet  
  • Google plus  
  • Facebook  
  • LinkedIn  
  • Stumble Upon  
Shaun Nichols
About

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for V3.co.uk. He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

More on Privacy
What do you think?
blog comments powered by Disqus
Poll

Green IT poll

How important is it to your business that a cloud provider uses renewable energy like solar or wind to power their data centres?
18%
6%
5%
1%
70%

Popular Threads

Powered by Disqus
mike-schutz-microsoft-server-and-cloud-division

Microsoft's Mike Schutz discusses the firm's cloud computing strategy [Video]

V3 interviews Microsoft general manager for Windows Server and Management, Mike Schutz, to find out why customers should adopt the Private Cloud

Updating your subscription status Loading
Newsletters

Get the latest news (daily or weekly) direct to your inbox with V3 newsletters.

newsletter sign-up button
hpv3may

Getting started with virtualisation

Virtualisation can help you reduce costs, improve application availability, and simplify IT
management. However, getting started can be challenging

ibmv3may

Converting big data and analytics insights into results

Successful leaders are infusing analytics throughout their organisations to drive smarter decisions, enable faster actions and optimise outcomes

Systems Administrator - Tech-led eCommerce Startup!

Linux Systems Administrator, DevOps, Systems Administrator...

Head of IT Service Management

Head of IT Service Management Annual Salary of up...

Head of IT Projects

Head of IT Projects Annual Salary: Up to £48,153...

Assistant IT Director

Assistant IT Director Annual Salary: Up to £74,954...
To send to more than one email address, simply separate each address with a comma.