Feeds

Early! Do! Not! Track! Adopter! Yahoo! Says! It's! Rubbish, Bins! It!

Claims lack of 'single standard' makes DNT a lost cause

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Yahoo! has done an about-face on its stance toward the controversial Do Not Track browser privacy standard, announcing that it will no longer recognize users' DNT settings across any of its online properties.

"As the first major tech company to implement Do Not Track, we’ve been at the heart of conversations surrounding how to develop the most user-friendly standard," the Yahoo! Privacy Team wrote in a blog post on Wednesday. "However, we have yet to see a single standard emerge that is effective, easy to use and has been adopted by the broader tech industry."

The Purple Palace first began implementing DNT in 2012, adding support to its Right Media and Genome (née Interclick) advertising services as well as its own-branded sites, ahead of other online giants, including Google.

But the effort was not without its dissenters. Notably, former Yahoo! privacy guru Anne Toth objected to the system, having told Time magazine, "Right now, when a consumer puts Do Not Track in the header, we don't know what they mean. Privacy is not a one size fits all thing."

It wasn't until Toth left Yahoo! to take a job at Google+ that the company actually pushed forward with its DNT plans, suggesting that top brass at the Purple Palace had been divided on the issue.

Brower makers have been more bullish. Mozilla was the first to implement DNT in Firefox 5 in 2011, and Google followed suit for Chrome a few months later. But when Microsoft decided to turn on DNT by default in Internet Explorer 10, even those who otherwise supported the scheme balked.

Just as it had been one of the first to implement DNT, Yahoo! was also the first major website to announce that it would ignore IE10's DNT signal, not long after the Apache Foundation announced that its eponymous open source web server would do the same.

And therein lies the problem with DNT. Not only is it intended as an opt-in feature for browser users (IE's behavior notwithstanding), but it's also opt-in for online services. If neither side can agree on how the signal should be handled – if at all – then the system is effectively useless.

Yahoo! concluded its announcement on Wednesday by saying it would continue to offer tools for managing users' privacy – just not ones having anything to do with DNT.

"We encourage our users to tailor their online experience through the variety of privacy tools we offer within our own platform, accessible via our Yahoo Privacy Center," the blog post explains. "The privacy of our users is and will continue to be a top priority for us." ®

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.