Yahoo is the latest company to jump on the disregard privacy bandwagon once more. Just yesterday Yahoo announced that the company will stop complying with Do Not Track requests sent to the website by web browsers.
“As of today, web browser Do Not Track settings will no longer be enabled on Yahoo,” the project website read. “As the first major tech company to implement Do Not Track, we’ve been at the heart of conversations surrounding how to develop the most user-friendly standard. However, we have yet to see a single standard emerge that is effective, easy to use and has been adopted by the broader tech industry.”
Do Not Track is a setting all modern browsers have implemented. When enabling Do Not Track, an HTTP header is sent to the website to state the visitor does not wish to be tracked by the website, or third party services.
“While some third parties have committed to honor Do Not Track, many more have not,” the project site states. “In February 2012, the major online advertising trade groups pledged at the White House to support Do Not Track by year-end; that promise remains unfulfilled. Efforts to standardize Do Not Track in the World Wide Web Consortium have resulted in deadlock, despite frequent urging by American and European policymakers.”
In late 2012 Yahoo refused Do Not Track requests from Internet Explorer 10 by default. The reason begin Microsoft decided to turn it on by default, instead of asking users to enable or disable the feature on their own.
Yahoo noted that “users can still manage their privacy on Yahoo while benefiting from a personalized web experience. We encourage our users to tailor their online experience through the variety of privacy tools we offer within our own platform, accessible via our Yahoo Privacy Center.”
Yahoo is not the only company to refuse requests. Google Chrome allows for Do Not Track to be enabled and send requests, but Google’s Do Not Track page that has been idle since October 2012 reads, “At this time, most web services, including Google’s, do not alter their behavior or change their services upon receiving Do Not Track requests.” The list of companies remaining devoted to Do Not Track is smaller, but huge websites including Twitter and Pinterest follow.
“Yahoo has great incentive to ditch DNT,” Search Engine Land reported. “For one, its share of the growing display pie is shrinking—the company reported display revenue of $553 million in Q4, a 6 percent decline from the previous year. And two, their competitors aren’t adhering to it either.”
A project known as the Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P), a similar Do Not Track project, had an advertising industry group pull out of the project because it was “dissatisfied with the failed, two-and-a-half-year-old process to establish a universal Do Not Track standard,” Adweek reported at the time. But Yahoo’s pulling pulling out of the Do Not Track project should not be of much surprise arstechnica reported. Lorrie Faith Cranor, who led the development of P3P more than a decade ago told arstechnica in 2012 that “every time we come up with a technical solution that protects privacy, the websites come up with something they want to do that is broken by this privacy protection.”
Yahoo is blatantly disregarding users right to privacy by refusing browsers Do Not Track requests, no browser settings can circumvent the new implementation.