Mozilla's Dashboard highlights Firefox's Do Not Track distribution

Martin Brinkmann
May 4, 2013
Updated • May 13, 2013

Do Not Track notifies websites and servers you connect to that you do not want to be tracked. What is happening then is entirely up to the companies that run scripts on the website. Those that honor Do Not Track won't track you across web properties while those that do not still will. I do not really like the feature because of this, as you - as the user - do not really know what is happening in the background. It is better to take things in your own hands in my opinion, for instance by clearing third party cookies, HTML5 and Flash storage and the like regularly to make sure tracking is stopped dead in its tracks.

I suppose it is better than not doing anything at all, and it certainly cannot hurt, but unless the system is switched from a honor-bound system to a mandatory one, it is not really helping you a lot as you never know if you are tracked or not.

Mozilla has published a new dashboard that highlights the Do Not Track distribution over time in the world. The countries with the highest Do Not Track count? The Netherlands with 20.41% followed by the United Kingdom with 19.41% and Canada with 18.28% on the desktop, and France with 21.17%, Australia with 19.55% and New Zealand with 19.05% on mobile devices.

do not track

What this means? No more than 1/5th of all Firefox users are making use of Do Not Track. It is less than that in most countries though. The desktop average is currently 11.40%, the mobile average 14.11% and it appears as if the values have plateaued in the last couple of months. It needs to be noted that Do Not Track needs to be activated by Firefox users before it is added to the connection header when connections are made in the browser.

How is Mozilla generating the data? It uses the blocklist request that Firefox sends out once per day to retrieve the latest list of blocked extensions, add-ons and plugins. Since this is a request the browser makes, the Do Not Track signal is sent with it, and Mozilla uses it to generate the statistics. It should be fairly accurate as most Firefox users likely have not disabled the feature in the browser (in the about:config dialog by setting the preference extensions.blocklist.enabled to false) or block the request in other ways (e.g. a firewall). (via Sören)


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  1. Tom said on March 27, 2020 at 5:48 pm

    DNT is more dead than HALF-LIFE…

  2. EuroScept1C said on May 4, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Firefox in a while will be blocking third-party cookies ( kind of ). This is gonna help truly a lot…

  3. Nebulus said on May 4, 2013 at 4:42 am

    I believe that DNT is totally irrelevant, because there is no real reason that any site would honour it. Sure, it doesn’t hurt to enable it, just in case, but I wouldn’t base my privacy or security on it.
    And as a side note, thanks for information about “extensions.blocklist.enabled” :)

  4. Transcontinental said on May 4, 2013 at 3:50 am

    I couldn’t agree more with Martin. The DNT enabled doesn’t hurt, except a user who would rely on it when believing the feature is mandatory : it is not indeed. I remain highly curious to know the ratio of sites/companies respecting a user’s deliberately choice to not be tracked. IMO : <.5 :)
    Anyway, what is interesting with the mentioned dashboard is that of the percentage of Firefox users who have set the DNT to ON, and it appears this percentage is rather low (20% at it's highest). What we don't know is if DNT disabled is the fact of a choice or that of ignorance.

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