Do Not Track (DNT)

What is Do Not Track (DNT)?

DNT is an acronym for "Do Not Track".

The "do not track" (DNT) setting in modern web browsers is a feature that can be turned on to request that websites not track the user's browsing activity.

However, it is not a guarantee that a website will honor the request.

This DNT feature simply sends a signal to the website visited by the user, indicating that the user prefers not to be tracked.

The website can then respond to the request in various ways, such as by disabling tracking cookies or by providing a reduced level of access to the user.

The concept of "do not track" (DNT) was first proposed in 2010 by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States. The FTC called for a "Do Not Track" mechanism to be developed that would allow consumers to opt out of online tracking by third parties. In 2011, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) began working on a standard for DNT.

DNT functionality started becoming available in web browsers in early 2012. Microsoft was the first browser vendor to introduce DNT, with the release of Internet Explorer 9. Other major browser makers, including Mozilla, Google, and Apple, followed suit and added DNT functionality to their browsers.

As of 2021, most of the popular web browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge and Brave have the option to enable DNT in their settings.

Because DNT is a voluntary standard, not all websites or online services have agreed to honor it. Even among those that have, not all have implemented the standard in the same way. Therefore, the effectiveness of DNT can vary depending on the website or service you are visiting.

As there are no legal requirements for websites to respect DNT, it's up to individual website to decide if (and how) they want to respect it.

A study from 2019 by the online privacy company, DuckDuckGo, found that only a very small percentage of websites (less than 1%) in their sample of the top 10,000 sites in the US honored DNT signals.

Another study from 2020 by the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), a non-profit organization, found that very few websites actually honor DNT signals, and that many companies continue to track users even when DNT is enabled.

In our MIDAS scheduling software, we give administrators the option to configure their booking system to respect DNT signals. With this option enabled, users who have also enabled DNT won't have their IP addresses logged in the system's audit log.

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