This site is presented by the Future of Privacy Forum, an industry-supported think tank seeking to advance responsible data practices.

What is DNT?
When you choose to turn on the DNT setting in your browser, your browser sends a special signal to the web sites, analytics companies, ad networks, plug in providers, and other web services you encounter while browsing.

 

How Do Companies Use It?

There is no consensus yet on how the companies you encounter should interpret DNT.  As a result, most sites do not currently change their practices when they receive a DNT signal.  Some companies may refrain from personalizing ads they show you.  Others may limit the ways they collect information about your browsing activities.  Click here for a specific list of companies that have publicly committed to honor the Do Not Track header. Visit our DNT Implementers page for an example of how one company interprets the DNT setting on a more technical level. 

 

The Future of DNT

Although there is no universally-agreed upon standard for what a company should do when it detects a DNT signal, an international working group of policy advocates, technical experts, and companies is attempting to create a consensus interpretation.  For more information about this effort, visit the W3C Tracking Protection Working Group.

 

Additionally, new technologies now allow venues such as airports, stores, and hotels to receive signals from devices that are in or near them. Mobile location analytics companies that have agreed to FPF’s Mobile Location Analytics Code of Conduct will honor the requests of consumers who wish to opt-out of having their location collected. Consumers can opt-out by entering their phones’ Wi-Fi or Bluetooth MAC address at smartstoreprivacy.org.

Do Not Track Indicator

Other Privacy Tools

Below are a few examples of tools you can download to further manage their privacy preferences:

LightBeam by Mozilla

DoNotTrackMe by Abine

PrivacyFix by AVG

Ghostery by Evidon

Why Do Companies Track You?

Web services track users for a wide variety of reasons.  Web sites and analytics companies may track to know how many unique users visit their sites, or to learn how users navigate within a site.  Advertising networks may track you in order to measure the effectiveness of the ads they serve, or to create a web surfing profile for you that is used to create more personalized ads.  A mobile advertiser promoting an app may track you on your mobile devices in order to understand which of their ad campaigns resulted in more downloads of their app.

 

Tracking is also used to prevent fraud. For example, an online bank might use tracking techniques to detect that a certain web browser is trying to log in to an account from an unfamiliar location.   An ad network that gets paid by the number of users that click might also track in order to recognize fake clicks generated by computer bots.

 

There is a wide range of views on the benefits and privacy implications of tracking. You can find industry views at Ad Choices or at the Network Advertising Initiative. You can find the views of some privacy and technology experts at donottrack.us. For the views of Future of Privacy forum leaders, visit our Do Not Track page.

 

You can also see your own browsing profile on a number of sites. In addition to Google and Yahoo's pages, you can also see your profile with ad network BlueKai.

Additional Tracking or Ad Targeting Privacy Options

 

The Network Advertising Initiative offers a central site where you can opt-out of certain kinds of tracking or ad targeting by its members.

 

The Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) provides a consumer opt-out page for the companies participating in their Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising.

 

Some leading companies provide their own opt-out mechanisms for their registered users.  For example, at these links you can control your opt-outs for Google, for Microsoft, and for Yahoo!.

 

Companies that wish to be listed on our Implementers page should click here to contact us. View FPF's Privacy Policy.