If you are on the Internet, chance is that you are being tracked. Advertising companies, Internet services and even Internet Service Provider track users for a variety of purposes, but most often to profile users to increase advertising revenue or sell the data to companies that do.
While cookies are most often used for that purpose, and I'm using the term lightly so that it includes all different kinds of cookies, it is not the only option that companies have. Fingerprinting may be an option as well which tries to identify users based on factors such as their IP address, operating system, web browser and other data that is submitted automatically when connections are established.
The Do Not Track feature has been designed to give Internet users a say in the matter. It is not the most effective option though as it is not mandatory for companies to comply with it if it is set by the user. While several companies honor Do Not Track, others may choose to ignore it. It is therefore reasonable to say that even with Do Not Track enabled, users are getting tracked on the Internet.
Mozilla has improved the Do Not Track feature in its Firefox web browser starting with current Nightly versions (that is version 21 of it). When you open the tracking related settings - with a click on Firefox > Options > Privacy - you will notice that you can now switch between all three states right from the menu.
You can tell websites that you do not want to be tracked, tell sites that you want to be tracked, and do not tell sites anything about your tracking preference. Previously, you were only able to enable Do Not Track in the browser or do not send information about it at all.
The learn more link beneath the feature is also interesting as it links to a page on the Mozilla website that explains the key concepts of it. It offers a description of Do Not Track and frequently asked questions that may help you understand it better.Advertisement
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.