online-privacyIt was in the earlier part of the week when Hulu updated their privacy policy, which now states that the digital video service is ignoring Do Not Track requests sent by people’s browsers that, if enabled to do so, ask that their browsing behavior not be tracked by a company, typically when not on that company’s site.


Of course, Hulu isn’t the only major platform that’s pushing aside these browser-based privacy preferences.

So who is honoring the Do Not Track requests and which aren’t?  Here’s a list of who does, and doesn’t respond to Do Not Track, according to  who tried contacting each of these brands:

  • Amazon – Hasn’t responded, and its privacy policy doesn’t disclose how it responds
  • AOL – Does not respond to No Not Track requests
  • Facebook – Does not respond to No Not Track requests
  • Google – Does not respond to No Not Track requests
  • Hulu -Does not respond to No Not Track requests
  • LinkedIn  – Does not respond to No Not Track requests
  • Medium – Responds to Do Not Track requests by not setting cookies but when people are logged out of its site
  • Microsoft – Does not respond to No Not Track requests
  • Pinterest – Responds to Do Not Track requests by not using data it collects off-site
  • Reddit -Responsds to Do Not Track requests by not loading third-party trackers
  • Tumblr – They claim that Do Not Track does not apply to it because it doesn’t collect off-Tumblr browsing data, but it may allow 3rd parties on its pages
  • Twitch – Does not respond to No Not Track requests
  • Twitter – Responds to Do Not Track requests by not using off-Twitter data for ad targeting
  • Yahoo – Does not respond to Do Not Track requests, unless sent by a Firefox browser, in which in case, it honors them

It seems that out of all the major platforms that that were contacted, most of them don’t respond to the Do Not Requests sent by browsers, and the biggest reason given by companies is that there’s no standard policy for how a site is supposed to respond to these requests.   This is true(ish).  In my opinion, I would respond to them by saying, “does it really matter if there’s a standard or not?  Respect a person’s privacy.”  There isn’t any requirement for companies to honor Do Not Track request or a penalty if they ignore those requests.  Yet, there are companies that do respond to these requests any way, such as MediumPinterest, Reddit and Twitter. Yahoo does, too, but only on Firefox, and only because of its search deal with Firefox maker Mozilla.

Out of the platforms that ignore Do Not Track requests, they do allow people to opt out of tracking-based ads via settings in their user accounts.  In this case, that’s a good thing, as these settings usually bridge different devices, as well as web and app environments.  This also means more work for people who doesn’t want a company peeking at hat they’re doing when they’re not on that company’s site.  Rather than setting one browser-wide opt-out, the user would be opting out for each of theses services, then going through both the Digital Advertising Alliance’s and Network Advertising Initiative’s opt-out tools

Another option for the user is to just give in and allow themselves to be tracked by third parties.  Or, they could even install an ad blocker.

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