Why Apple is disabling Safari’s ‘Do Not Track’ feature

“Apple takes privacy very seriously,” Jonny Evans writes for Computerworld. “It takes its leadership in that care seriously, and getting rid of the voluntary “Do Not Track” setting in its Safari browser is the right decision.”

“Apple introduced support for Do Not Track (DNT) in iOS 7 but removed the feature in Safari 12.1,” Evans writes. “The problem with DNT is that the signal it sends to websites, analytics firms, plug-in makers, and ad networks is a voluntary request and can be ignored.”

“A huge chunk of people who use DNT are unaware that it is a voluntary scheme and have no idea their request is not being honored. They think they are safe from unregulated prying eyes. They are not,” Evans writes. “Apple is taking steps to help educate its users… The latest version of Safari also includes [multiple] measures designed to help improve your personal control of online privacy…”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Since “Do Not Track” is basically a sham, due to its voluntary nature, that provides users with a false sense of security, Apple is doing the right thing by removing it from Safari. Not only that, but it could be used as a way to track people!

People who value privacy and security use Apple products.MacDailyNews, September 12, 2015

SEE ALSO:
Apple to remove ‘Do Not Track’ support in Safari 12.1, focus shifts to Intelligent Tracking Prevention – February 6, 2019

10 Comments

    1. By all accounts, for every site that honored DNT requests, there were several that used the fact that the user had it set to help create a profile that actually made tracking easier.

  1. OK, am not longer a techie like I used to be. However it is easy to discover/recognize/see that DNT does not work.

    Turn on DNT. Go to MDN and/or a plethora of other sites with ads. Go visit Amazon, or even a local retail store online. Then go back to the sites with ads like MDN. Guess what they throw at you – the very thing you looked at 10 minutes ago on another retail site! :OH, you say, that is not tracking!” Yes it is. a rose by any other name is still a rose.

    Another one of my gripes, somewhat related:
    Go to Safari>Preference> extensions or privacy or cookies. Some of those that you delete will come back AFTER you delete them; the second time and the third time. Then you find their cookie restores an extension, or an extension restores a cookie, or simply having been to a website, their cookie and/or website link within Safari Prefs both have the ability to replicate the other if one is deleted. Been there and done that on more than one occasion. – and then I stay away from those sites.

    1. If Apple were serious about DNT working they could easily change Safari to automatically turn on cookie blocking and also block any other methods used by websites to track a user. The fact that doing so would ‘break’ the huge majority of websites should not matter if privacy via ‘true’ DNT was actually the goal.

  2. Go to Safari>Preference> extensions …

    FYI, another trick is that the website will create their own folder inside your cookies directory, so even if you wipe out the cookie, the folder stays – – and the folder is used by that website to reconstitute the deleted cookie.

    1. Does Safari have similar options to Chrome like:
      (Block, Clear on Exit, Allow) under Settings-> Advanced-> Privacy and Security-> Content Settings-> Cookies? Perhaps that may be an option to prevent folders and cookies from persisting.

  3. “A huge chunk of people who use DNT are unaware that it is a voluntary scheme and have no idea their request is not being honored.”

    While this may be true for some, any recent user of Chrome that switches DNT on in Settings will receive a pop-up explaining the voluntary nature of DNT with a link to “learn more”.

  4. Why disable? Advertising, of course. If Apple can’t keep their revenue numbers up with new or compelling hardware then they have to rely on the lazy man’s way: Ads.

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