Only disclose to the highest bidder

What Is DNT

Lately there has been a lot of buzz about 'Do Not Track'.   For those that don't know, Do not Track or DNT is a little message your browser tells each website before it starts loading on your computer screen. Let's say you click on a site name or type in a site name in the browser address bar and hit enter; before your monitor starts filling up with that site's content your browser has sent several important tidbits of information about you. Your browser, your OS, your screen size, your geographic location, and lots and lots of other information depending on sites you have gone to and logged into before you visit that website.

How Much Is Too Much 

It is possible for a website you visit to know your age, your sex, whether or not your married, what you have recently searched for, what sites you have recently visited, and the list goes on. By the time all the content loads the site knows exactly what advertisements to show you.  This is where DNT comes in. That message your browser sends the site as you arrive is 'Do Not Track Me', or 'It's OK to Track Me', or 'I Haven't Bothered To Set My Tracking Preferences'. In the case of the later; currently sites are going to assume DNT doesn't apply and you will be tracked. Some of the controversy has to do with what default browsers will install and update this setting as.

 Is It Worth It?

The problem with DNT and internet privacy in general is that it is a moving target and basically depends on the websites honoring your wish. It is also somewhat counter-intuitive to the casual user. One might think that if I turn DNT on I won't be tracked but in fact some information must be tracked if you intend to log into a site and use its many features. But what will be tracked? Will that information be used by third parties?  In order to play that game or to benefit from a site's features you may have to disclose some information about yourself. Third parties are, but not limited to, advertisement servers. Advertisement servers are companies that serve advertisements on sites other than their own. You might go to and see an advertisement that is served up by which pays for the advertisement space.

As yet it is unclear how all of this will play out.  You may have noticed though that some changes have been taking place on major sites that ask you to login to one of your social sites or other sites you may be a member of.  You may be offered incentives to do so. This is one way to keep track without having to honor the DNT.  Always read a site's privacy statement but understand that it may not be followed and can change. Weigh the benefits with how much information you're exchanging.

One definite realization that is becoming crystal clear is that your information is worth something. Be careful on what you disclose and only disclose to the highest bidder.

by Jim Atkins "thedosmann"

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