I Won't Track You (If You Don't Want Me To)
This is yet another boring web site note but it is something I think quite important. For a long time, I never stopped long enough to pay much attention to how browsers and web trackers worked. It wasn't the technology I wasn't pay attention to, it was more about the "how and why" many web sites track visitors.
Most often, when you visit a web site a lot of information can be collected. Web sites (like mine, for example) only get the basics. We collect things like what browsers visit, what operating systems, resolution of your screen, where you are visiting from; information that helps us to make sure that our sites are working properly and gives me an idea of what content works and what does not.
But web sites (like Facebook) track you even when you are not logged in to their web site. It is potentially something that can be (and is) abused by larger companies and it is scary what Facebook does behind the scenes.
So, how do you fight against this kind of intrusion? A lot of the time, you can't. Mobile devices don't have a lot of choice. Some web sites you want to use require cookies and all kinds of things to be active. Here is something you can do. It is called Do Not Track. It is a way of telling web sites that you don't want them to track you beyond the basics.
Do Not Track is a technology and policy proposal that enables users to opt out of tracking by websites they do not visit, including analytics services, advertising networks, and social platforms. At present few of these third parties offer a reliable tracking opt out, and tools for blocking them are neither user-friendly nor comprehensive. Much like the popular Do Not Call registry, Do Not Track provides users with a single, simple, persistent choice to opt out of third-party web tracking.
If you are a regular reader here, you'd know that I do this little podcast called Dyscultured that talks about this kind of stuff all the time. We chat and debate about Do Not Track, Facebook, and all sorts of technology that ties it all together. We've talked about tracking for the last eight or so months because it has been a hot topic in the not-so-mainstream (and, eventually, got some play in the mainstream media).
What is the point of this whole post? I won't track you if you don't want me to. I respect my privacy on the Internet and I would expect nothing less. If you set your browser to Do Not Track, my web site respects this and will not intrude on your privacy...
Just send me money instead. Cold hard cash.