The latest version of Chrome allows you to request that websites do not track which other sites you have visited

Homburg and binocularsIn my blog post of 12/08/12 – “What is “Do Not Track“”, I wrote that Chrome does not support “Do Not Track”. Well. they have now included it in the latest version of the browser. This is version 23.

To find out whether you have the latest version of Chrome:

  • Click on the “settings” button. It looks like this:
    Chrome Settings Button

    Chrome Settings Button

  • Click on the “About Google Chrome” option on the menu that pops up:
    Chrome Settings Menu

    Chrome Settings Menu

  • Look for the version number near the top-left corner. If the version number starts with 23 then you can ask Chrome to ask websites you visit not to track you. If you don’t have the latest version then there should be an option to update now.

Google have tucked away the option that allows you to turn on the feature. You can almost feel them squirming at the thought that they, Google, via this new setting in their browser, are allowing you to reduce the amount of data you are sharing. After all, your personal data is their very lifeblood. They use it to target advertising. So, if you want to turn the feature on, you have to dig deeply into Chrome’s settings like this:

  • Click on the “settings” button. It looks like this
    Chrome Settings Button

    Chrome Settings Button

  • Click on the “settings” option on the menu that pops up
    Chrome Settings Menu - 2

    Chrome Settings Menu – 2

  • Click on the “settings” option that appears on the menu on the lefthand side of the screen. It looks like this:
    Chrome Settings Submenu

    Chrome Settings Submenu

  • Scroll to the very bottom of the window that comes up (it’s way off the bottom of the screen when you first see the window)
  • Click on the link that says “show advanced settings”
  • Scroll down to the section headed “Privacy”
  • Tick the box next to the text that says “Send a Do Not Track request with your browsing traffic”
  • Close the window in the normal way

When you tick the box, as detailed above, a window then pops up that tells you that websites may just ignore the request or may still collect data about your browsing on their site (but not your visits to other sites). There’s also a link in that box that takes you to a Google page that tells you that Google themselves do not respect “Do Not Track” requests. The wording on that page is:

“At this time, most web services, including Google’s, do not alter their behaviour or change their services upon receiving Do Not Track requests. (Updated October 2012).”

So, what’s the point of making the request?
I can’t give a definitive answer to that. Probably, more and more sites WILL respect the request in the future as more and more people ask for it. Maybe this will provide a foundation for a more robust privacy system some time in the future. My own view is that most things that tend towards protecting my privacy are a good thing. I know that that view is not shared by everyone. Well, they’re entitled to their view and to share what they want, but I think that people like myself – who don’t want to share things unwittingly online – should be able to be part of the online community while, at the same time, maintaining their own boundaries. Conclusion: turning on the request “not to track” is a good thing for people who think like me on this subject.

© 2011-2018 David Leonard
Computer Support in London
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