To track or not to track? Introducing DoNotTrackPlus

We recently released a new add-on called Do Not Track Plus (DNT+) that combines some different technology approaches and standards like Do Not Track, all meant to help consumers enjoy better and easier online privacy, into one package.

Here’s the full press release: http://abine.com/news.php

Why offer one solution that supports a bunch of different ways to get online privacy?

First, there are a lot of good ideas out there.

Privacy technologies and standards are evolving and we don’t see some clear winner dominating everyone else (think back to VHS videotapes “beating Sony”).   Unlike advertising companies (often the same companies that make leading Web browsers), we don’t have conflicts of interest around online privacy:  there’s zero reason for us to have any “technology religion” where we push one approach as clearly good and others as bad.  It’s still early, but in some ways Mozilla got it right, Microsoft got it right, Google got it right, and the Federal Trade Commission and Commerce Department are on the right track (no pun intended).  It therefore makes sense that Do Not Track Plus can be a synthesis of effective approaches that empower consumers today, yet leave room for evolution and innovation tomorrow.

Second, there’s the question of timing.

Some approaches work today completely, some work today partially, and others anticipate a very different, perhaps government regulated, future.  For example, Microsoft is releasing IE9 with new privacy features which they rightly point out work today for IE users:  IE9 tracking protection lists actually block different groups of advertisers and tracking companies.  Meanwhile, Mozilla’s implementation of the Do Not Track standard  (made possible in part by a superb group of privacy researchers and advocates including Jonathan Mayer, Arvind Narayanan, and Christopher Soghoian) is a potentially more elegant and easier-to-use solution but one requiring additional buy-in in the future.

Third, avoiding confusion.

Do Not Track is simple, attractive, and understandable language.  That’s good.  However, it’s easy to create a false sense of privacy.  By letting consumers who voice their preference for more online privacy select among different approaches easily (without having to change browsers, or try multiple tools with multiple interfaces to learn), we hope to empower and educate users who try Do Not Track Plus.  They should also learn that online privacy is not just about tracking but also about keeping their email, cell phone, IP address, home address, and credit cards away from too many online databases using tools like our full PrivacySuite.

Fourth, make room for advertisers.

Advertisers need a stronger voice and say in this discussion and need to be more proactive than simply offering opt-outs.  Indeed, the future is murkiest for advertisers in some ways because a regulated Do Not Track would force them to define the meaning of Do Not Track and the technical implementations could be challenging in a variety of ways.  There’s no reason why sites providing good experiences to users shouldn’t be able to have a dialog with them about supporting them and their advertising partners, otherwise known as “white-listing.” We aim to prompt further discussion around is how this will actually work in practice, today.

In conclusion:  As an industry, we can achieve Do Not Track in different ways, and we can do it faster.

Combining and evolving today’s set of proposed standards is technically possible.  And the FTC and Commerce Department have repeatedly called for the market to innovate and self-regulate to provide consumers online privacy protection.  DNT+ can accelerate such innovation and empower millions of users who feel there is too much information about their browsing habits being secretly gathered by a mix of trusted and untrusted parties.  DNT+ works today to protect consumer privacy and help strengthen and define emerging privacy standards within and across multiple browsers.

Give Do Not Track Plus (DNT+) a try and let us know what you think.




7 comments shared on this article:

  • Michael Loiacono says:

    I am unable to download DNT+ from Abine’s website. I have IE9 and block third party tracking cookies but several still get through. Does DNT+ work with, or is it even necessary with IE9 and do you have any idea why it won’t download when I click on the download icon?

    • Sarah Downey says:

      Hi Michael. Yes, DNT+ does work with IE9 (as well as Firefox, Chrome, and Safari). There are a number of things you can try to get it working, and we’re worry for the trouble. Go through the following things, starting from number 1. I can almost guarantee you that whatever problem you’re having is on this list of fixes. If you’re still having trouble, though, just email us at support at abine dot com.

      1. Check Windows Start Menu >> Control Panel >> Add or Remove Programs to make sure DNT+ is installed. If DNT+ does not appear in your list of Addons, install it.
      2. Check Tools >> Manage Add-ons to make sure it’s enabled. if not, enable it.
      3. Right-click on toolbar and make sure “Command Bar” is checked. Make sure “Lock the toolbars” is unchecked.
      4. Right click on your toolbar >> Customize >> Add or Remove Commands >> Reset button. Restart IE completely.
      5. Restarting IE completely will also fix issues if you’ve customized the icons using “Show Only Icons,” “Show Selective Text,” or “Show All Text Labels”
      6. Under Tools >> Internet Options >> Advanced, make sure you have checked “Enable third-party browser extensions.”
      7. Make sure you’re not currently in Private Browsing mode.
      8. For IE9, make sure that “Active X Filtering” is turned off.
      9. Have you upgraded Internet Explorer lately? What version did you have before? What version do you have now?
      10. How long ago did you install DNT+? how long was it working for before it disappeared?
      11. What was the last thing that happened before your icon disappeared?
      12. What antivirus do you have?
      13. What’s your operating system?
      14. Do a complete uninstall. This includes restarting IE completely (exit your browser, don’t just close the browser window). Reinstall from this link: http://donottrackplus.com/download/dntp-giveaway-ie.exe



Pings to this post

  1. [...] (typeof(addthis_share) == "undefined"){ addthis_share = [];}Abine | The Online Privacy Company We recently released a new add-on called Do Not Track Plus (DNT+) that combines some different [...]

  2. [...] In the meantime, citizens who want some fine-grained control and notification over how their data is collected on the web can install a number of plugins for their favorite browsers, including the Do Not Track+ plugin from Abine. [...]

  3. [...] In the meantime, citizens who want some fine-grained control and notification over how their data is collected on the web can install a number of plugins for their favorite browsers, including the Do Not Track+ plugin from Abine. [...]

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