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Do Not Track and

There is an interesting bug report and associated discussion over on the Mozilla bugzilla which reveals several points about the Do Not Track HTTP header, the Mozilla website and Firefox's implementation of this protocol.

  • There is confusion about what "Do Not Track" actually means; some say it means "don't track me at all", others say the meaning is more "don't track me and share the data with third parties"
  • There is also discussion about whether or not Google Analytics counts as a third party. The opinion seems to be that because Mozilla use GA Premium the data will not be used by Google so using GA does not count as giving the data to a third party.
  • Finally, there are people making (the very valid imo) point that the Firefox interface for DNT is terrible at making these ambiguities obvious to the user: firefox-dnt.png

I messed around with the DNT header when I first saw the setting in Firefox and I was amused to see that the Google Analytics tracking pixel was still firing. I thought this was either because they would filter the DNT requests when processing the data or because Google deliberately chose to ignore the header. I never considered that being tracked by Google in this way could actually be compliant with DNT; in some ways this is worse because it makes the protocol basically useless

Authored by Richard Fergie