What is 'Do Not Track' And How do I Use It?

Retain your privacy when surfing the web

Woman on laptop

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Online behavior advertising is big business and it’s supported by tracking mechanisms such as cookies and other methods. Much like there is a Do Not Call Registry for telemarketers, consumer privacy advocacy groups have proposed ‘Do Not Track’ as a privacy preference that consumers should be allowed to set at their browser level so that they can mark themselves as unwilling to be tracked and targeted by online marketers and others.

Do Not Track

'Do Not Track' is a simple setting that started becoming available in most modern web browsers in 2010. This setting is an HTTP header field that is presented by a user’s web browser to sites they browse on the Internet. The DNT header communicates to web servers that a user visits one of three of the following values:

  • Value 1 – The user does not want to be tracked (opt-out)
  • Value 2 – The user consents to being tracked (opt-in)
  • Null Value – The value is for tracking has not been set by the user

There is currently no law that mandates advertisers have to abide by the user’s wishes, but sites may choose to honor the user’s wishes of not tracking them based on the value set in this field. You can research to see what sites honor 'Do Not Track' by reviewing the specific site’s privacy or their specific 'Do Not Track' policy.

Set Your 'Do Not Track' Preference Value

  1. Click on the Tools menu or click the Menu icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen.
  2. Choose Options or click the Options gear icon.
  3. Select the Privacy & Security menu tab from the menu on the left-hand side of the window.
  4. Locate the Browser Privacy section at the top of the screen and select the Always option for Send websites a "Do Not Track" signal that you don't want to be tracked
  1. In the top right-hand corner of the browser, click on the Chrome menu icon.
  2. Choose Settings.
  3. Click on Advanced at the bottom of the page.
  4. Locate the Privacy and Security section and enable Send a "Do Not Track" request with your browsing traffic.
  1. From the Safari drop-down menu, select Preferences.
  2. Click on Privacy.
  3. Click the checkbox with the label Ask websites not to track me.

In Microsoft Edge:

  1. Click on the tool icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen (3 dots in the upper right-hand corner of the window).
  2. Click the Settings menu selection (located near the bottom of the drop-down menu”.
  3. Click the Security and Privacy menu tab in the top right-hand corner of the pop-up menu (Padlock icon).
  4. In the settings menu, scroll down to the Privacy section.
  5. Turn on the option for Send Do Not Track requests.
  1. Click on the Tools menu or click the tool icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen.
  2. Click the Internet Options menu selection (located near the bottom of the drop-down menu”.
  3. Click the Advanced menu tab in the top right-hand corner of the pop-up menu.
  4. In the settings menu, scroll down to the Security section.
  5. Check the box that says Send Do Not Track requests to sites you visit in Internet Explorer.