How Microsoft killed 'Do Not Track'

published 2022-12-12 · updated 2022-12-21 #privacy #browser #tracking
While the 'Do Not Track' feature was originally released with the best of intentions, you should now make sure you have it disabled. With IE10, Microsoft killed the feature. At this point, having it enabled does more harm than good.


Please excuse any grammatical errors. I used a tool to generate the transcript and haven't had a chance to read through it yet.

If you've ever explored the privacy settings in your browser, you've likely come across a setting related to do not track. Let's talk about what this is. I'll show you exactly what the setting does. And then we'll talk about how Microsoft killed it. DNT or do not track was proposed by the EFF in 2009. It will be implemented by your browser is sending an additional header to the website that you are visiting, indicating that you wished not to be tracked. The W3C standard for DNT explicitly stated that it's only used when the user made a deliberate choice to enable it. While this feature had the best of intentions, some early studies indicated that it was largely being ignored by the trucking industry. Before we continue, let's take a look at exactly how DNT works.

So, here I am on my website site of I currently have the Do Not Track setting enabled in my browser. If we right-click, go to inspect, go to the Network tab, and then refresh the website. We're going to select the initial request. And if we scroll down to the section labeled request headers, we can see a header here called the DN T with a value of one. So, when you have this setting enabled in your browser, your browser will then send the DNT header on all requests indicating that you have it enabled. Now if I disable the Do Not Track setting and go back to the same page, we were just on, refresh the page again. Click on the newest request, scroll down to the request headers, and we no longer see that d and t header 13 years later in 2022. This feature is actually having the opposite effect of what it originally intended. So, since so few users have this feature enabled, and it's making little to no difference in preventing tracking, companies and marketers are using the DNT header we saw in the demonstration as another way to track visitors. So instead of helping you, it's hurting you by actually creating an additional data point that can be used to fingerprint you.

The last reason not to use it is that Microsoft killed it. As I mentioned, the W3C standard stated that this feature had to be a deliberate choice by the user. In 2012. Internet Explorer 10 was released with DNT enabled by default, which violated the standard and gave the tracking industry a reason to officially ignore it, since it could no longer be assumed the user enabled the feature. In May 2014. Yahoo announced they would stop supporting the Do Not Track privacy header. And in the years following, Google, Facebook and Twitter made similar announcements. More recently, in 2019, Apple removed the DN T feature from their Safari browser completely. I remember when this feature was originally announced, and I was pretty excited we were finally making some progress in terms of user privacy. As we can see, now the feature is dead, and it can actually cause more harm than good. So make sure you don't have it enabled in your browser. And if you do, I would suggest disabling, and I'll leave links down below in the description and how you can verify in popular browsers whether or not you have this setting enabled.