Yahoo has pulled the plug on their 'Do Not Track' settings. Starting today, Yahoo will automatically track users, regardless of if they have Do Not Track enabled in their browsers or not.
For those who aren't familiar, Do Not Track is a HTTP privacy setting that tells advertisers and browsers whether the user does or does not want to be tracked while they are on a website. The default for Do Not Track is "off" in most browsers, so users who desire protection must opt-in.
DNT is also more of a suggestion, than a guarantee. There is nothing regulatory forcing advertisers to honor it. As Andrew Rose, principal security and risk analyst at Forrester, told PC Pro, "DNT is, at best, a polite request from the browser that the host site pay no attention to them and kindly forget them once they leave. Laudable as this is, the browser has zero ability to ensure that this happens."
In a blog post by the company, Yahoo says they aren't bothering with DNT because "we have yet to see a single standard emerge that is effective, easy to use and has been adopted by the broader tech industry." If a user wishes to manage their privacy on Yahoo, they can still do so manually: "[Yahoo] users [can] tailor their online experience through the variety of privacy tools we offer within our own platform, accessible via our Yahoo Privacy Center." Yahoo definitely does not make it too easy to opt out of all tracking, but the majority of settings are found here.
Strangely, Yahoo seems to think that dropping a major privacy setting will help improve the user experience: "We fundamentally believe the best web is a personalized one." Data mining is the new personalization, apparently.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.