We talked about the privacy initiative Global Privacy Control (GPC) before here on Ghacks. GPC looks similar to Do Not Track on first glance. Both submit information to websites on connect that "tells" site owners about a user's privacy preferences.
Unlike Do Not Track, which was largely ignored by sites and companies, and even detrimental to a user's privacy because it made users stick out more, GPC is fueled by the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The Californian law mentions "user-enabled global privacy controls" in requests to opt-out, and a "browser-plugin or privacy setting, device setting, or other mechanism" in particular as one of "two or more designated methods for submitting requests to opt-out" that businesses shall provide.
The caveat is that the law does not make the global control a must, as it is listed besides methods to opt-out on websites, by phone, a form, or a form submitted in person. GPC is backed by a number of companies and organizations, including the EFF, Automattic, DuckDuckGo, Brave, Mozilla, and the Financial Times.
Only Brave and DuckDuckGo have implemented GPC already in their browsers. Others, like Mozilla, have expressed interest but appear to be waiting for GPC to be introduced as a web standard or draft, before it is implemented.
Since most Internet users are not using Brave or the DuckDuckGo browser, it is extensions that they may rely on to send the GPC signal with the browser.
Browser extensions such as Privacy Badger, available for Google Chrome Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Opera, or OptMeowt, available for Chrome and Firefox, add the signal to the browser so that it is submitted to the visited sites. Most Chromium-based browsers should install the listed extensions fine.
To test whether the signal is submitted, visit the official Global Privacy Control site; it lists the status of the GPC signal at the top of the startpage.
One question has not been answered yet: should you configure your browser to send the signal right now, or should you wait until it is more widely adopted? The information may be used when it comes to fingerprinting, especially in the beginning days since it is sent only by a low number of browsers and devices.
For now, it may be better to monitor the progress that is made towards making GPC a mandatory thing, at least in some legislations, unless you do run the supporting extensions or browsers already.
Now You: What do you think of GPC?Advertisement
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.