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[liberationtech] Abine's DoNotTrackPlus browser plug-in

Yosem Companys companys at stanford.edu
Sun Feb 12 11:51:57 PST 2012


We're getting Twitter requests asking us to review apps like the one below
before circulating such articles to make sure that they do indeed do what
they say they do.  Anybody know anything about the app below?  Has anyone
used it before?

Yosem



How to kill Web trackers dead Abine's DoNotTrackPlus browser plug-in stops
trackers in their tracks -- and it's free. My new Web mantra: Don't track
me, bro.

*February 09, 2012, 10:55 AM* — Here’s fair warning to all social media
data scavengers, ad tracking companies, and analytics snoops on the
InterWebs: There’s a new anti-tracking sheriff in town.

Today, online privacy company Abine Inc. unveiled a new browser
widget<http://www.marketwatch.com/story/new-free-online-privacy-tool-for-consumers-unveiled-2012-02-09>
called,
appropriately enough,DoNotTrackPlus <http://abine.com/dntdetail.php> (because
these days everything has to come with a plus sign – thank you, Google).
I’ve been taking it for a spin this morning and I gotta say it’s pretty
slick.

DNT+ keeps more than 600 ad networks and other Web trackers from depositing
tracking cookies on your hard drive. It also tells you who they are.
Period, full stop. (However, it won't do anything about tracking cookies
that have already been deposited on your computer; you'll have to manually
delete those.)

   - Everything you always wanted to know about Web tracking (but were too
   paranoid to ask)<http://www.itworld.com/it-managementstrategy/220053/everything-you-always-wanted-know-about-web-tracking-were-too-paranoid->
   - Abine updates Firefox add-on to block Web
tracking<http://www.itworld.com/security/179099/abine-updates-firefox-add-block-web-tracking>

Getting DNT+ to work is painless – download, click “Install,” and you’re
done. I didn’t even have to restart my browser. Visit any site, and the
DNT+ ticker in the upper right corner of your browser tells you how many
Web trackers are embedded within it. Click the ticker to see the types of
trackers and who they belong to.

For example, DNT+ detected 17 trackers on the very site you’re now reading
(ITworld.com).

 * Three of them are social media sharing buttons (Facebook, G+, Twitter).
They will still work if you click them, but they won’t record the fact
you’re looking at this page if you do nothing (which Facebook, at least,
has been known to do).

* Three are ad networks (Dedicated Networks, Quantcast, and AppNexus). By
blocking them, DNT+ keeps them from capturing any information about you.

* 11 are classified as “trackers,” though most of these are also ad
networks (like Doubleclick) as well as things like Google Analytics.

DNT+ also keeps a running tally of all the trackers it has blocked as you
surf. It took me about 30 minutes of casual surfing to blast past the 100
mark. And that’s it in a nutshell. Really simple, highly useful, and did I
mention it’s free?

This is not an original idea by any stretch. DNT+’s main competition, so to
speak, is another free add-on called Ghostery <http://www.ghostery.com/>,
which has been downloaded by more than 2 5 million
surfers<http://www.evidon.com/consumers/engage#tab2>.
(Another free tool calledCollusion shows you how different Web sites are
connected via these
trackers<http://www.itworld.com/it-managementstrategy/218523/how-track-whos-tracking-you-across-web>
.)

Ghostery differs from DNT+ in a number of ways. The first is performance.
DNT+ had no impact on how quickly pages loaded for me. In my experience,
using Ghostery makes Web pages load a scosh slower (your mileage may vary).

With nearly 800 tracking companies in its database, however, Ghostery is a
bit more thorough. At ITworld Ghostery found 20 trackers, including a half
dozen DNT+ didn’t flag, but missed three trackers Abine did catch.

The biggest difference is that DNT+ just blocks these cookies outright –
ask no questions, take no prisoners. You have to tell Ghostery which
tracking cookies you want to block, either individually by company or by
category (advertising, analytics, etc).

The reason for that is simple. Ghostery is owned by Evidon, a company
that’s trying to bridge the gap between ad networks and the people who are
worried about Web tracking (aka, the Don’t Track Me Bro crowd). Evidon is
behind the AdChoices campaigns you might see on some Web ads, which
discloses information about what data each ad is gathering as you surf.

 Evidon CEO Scott Meyer says fears about Web tracking are
overblown<http://www.itworld.com/it-managementstrategy/220053/everything-you-always-wanted-know-about-web-tracking-were-too-paranoid->,
in large part because ad networks have no interest in personally
identifying the people who are looking at their ads. He also sounds the
usual warnings about how if tracking and targeted ads were regulated out of
existence the “free” Internet as we know it would cease to exist.

(I have a problem with that argument, but I’ll save it for another post.)

The choice seems pretty simple to me. Hate Web tracking and all that it
entails? Download DoNotTrackPlus. Want to know more about who’s tracking
you without necessarily opting out of all tracking? Give Ghostery a spin,
and look out for those blue AdChoices triangles as they proliferate across
the Web.

I know which one I’m using from now on.

*Got a question about social media? **TY4NS blogger Dan
Tynan<http://www.itworld.com/blogs/dantynan>
** may have the answer (and if not, he’ll make something up). Visit his
snarky, occasionally NSFW blog **eSarcasm <http://www.esarcasm.com/>** or
follow him on Twitter: **@tynan_on_tech<http://twitter.com/#!/Tynan_on_Tech>
**. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-to’s, follow ITworld on **
Twitter <http://twitter.com/ITworld>** and
**Facebook<http://www.facebook.com/ITworld>
**.*



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