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Ever wondered how some websites seem to know so much about you as soon as you arrive? Or are you concerned about the amount of tracking that some websites do nowadays?

Until I installed Do Not Track Plus, I had no idea of the extent that sites go to to track you on the internet. Within seconds of logging onto MSN's site for example, it revealed six different companies that wanted to track my profile and surfing habits on the net:

Do Not Track Plus is a cross-browser extension that stops sites from tracking you. If you're concerned about targeted advertising or the amount of data sites gather about you, it's a very effective add-on.

Why should you be concerned though? The developers Abine explain one of the main reasons companies want to track you on the web:

Tracking companies follow you silently across the web, collecting information about you and building a profile of you. Then they sell this info to make their money.

Protects against hundreds of trackers

Do Not Track Plus claims it can stop more than 600 trackers and is compatible with Mac or PC for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer and is constantly updated to keep ahead of the latest trackers:

Apart from more privacy, Do Not Track Plus can also considerably speed-up browsing as it blocks time consuming tracking elements from loading in your browser.

Powerful but discreet

It's also very discreet. A small green icon appears in your browser toolbar with a number in it indicating the number of tracking cookies that the site you are currently browsing is trying to leave on your computer:

If you click on the number, a drop down menu displays information about the tracking cookies which usually consist of anything from social media trackers to advertising trackers.

Easy to control and informative

If there's something in there that you don't want blocked, just click on it and Do Not Track Plus will immediately allow it to track you.

If you want more information on exactly what is tracking you, just click on the block counts and a drop down menu shows you the names of the companies (usually big ad networks such as Doubleclick, Omniture and Comscore).

There is an additional information link "Who are these companies?" although it doesn't give any specific information - just a useful general description of why these companies are tracking you.

Finally, there's an "All Time Block Counter" which keeps track of the total number of trackers that are blocked which can easily run into the thousands in just one day.

If you're concerned about targeted advertising or how much websites seem to know about you, Do Not Track Plus is a powerful yet simple browser add-on.

Commented

  • Joe Doe |
    15/02/12
    Joe Doe

    Looks very similar to Ghostery - how those two compare?

  • Nick Mead |
    15/02/12
    Nick Mead

    @Joe Doe, Would be an interesting test. I think Ghostery requires more configuration than Do Not Block Plus. Ghostery makes the source code available for anyone to look at however whereas I don't think Do Not Track Plus does which may make it more trustworthy for some.

  • Sarah |
    15/02/12
    Sarah

    Sarah from Abine here. With regards to Ghostery vs DNT+, a few points:

    1. All in all, they are very similar, simple, functional "starters" for people who want privacy 2. DNT+ is faster (based on page load/processing times) 3. DNT+ sets opt out cookies and the Do Not Track header and blocks more categories of things (like facebook buttons and twitter buttons collecting your info) 4. DNT+ generates fewer Javascript errors on the top 10,000 web sites 5. Evidon, which owns Ghostery, is formerly Better Advertising, Inc. They don't deny their ties to the advertising industry, but it's offputting to many users. 6. Unlike Ghostery/Evidon, Abine doesn't collect any of your data when you use DNT+. All we see is that a download occurred, which lets us know how many users we have.

    Lastly, on your obfuscated code point: we do that because A), minimizing it makes the file size smaller, and B), we're a private company that's worked hard on our product and although we're willing to give it away to users for free, we aren't going to do the same with competitors. For some developers and students, however, we'll share the source code. Just email Rob at Abine dot com about that if you're interested.

  • Nick Mead |
    16/02/12
    Nick Mead

    @Sarah, Thanks for the detailed technical clarifications.

  • Ashiq |
    21/02/12
    Ashiq

    I hope the DNT+ database will grow up fast. Right now Ghostery blocks more sites than DNT+ if I am not wrong.

  • Chris |
    08/07/13
    Chris

    Great stuff and it's doing the job perfectly...to the dismay of the "trackers" :((

31/10/14
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