'Do Not Track,' the Privacy Tool Used by Millions of People, Doesn't Do Anything

"“Do Not Track could have succeeded only if there had been some incentive for the ad tech industry to reach a consensus with privacy advocates and other stakeholders—some reason why a failure to reach a negotiated agreement would be a worse outcome for the industry,” said Arvind Narayanan, a professor at Princeton University who was one of the technologists at the table. “Around 2011, the threat of federal legislation brought them to the negotiating table. But gradually, that threat disappeared. The prolonged negotiations, in fact, proved useful to the industry to create the illusion of a voluntary self-regulatory process, seemingly preempting the need for regulation.”"

"“It is, in many respects, a failed experiment,” said Jonathan Mayer, an assistant computer science professor at Princeton University. “There’s a question of whether it’s time to declare failure, move on, and withdraw the feature from web browsers.”

That’s a big deal coming from Mayer: He spent four years of his life helping to bring Do Not Track into existence in the first place."

"“We have seen strong Do Not Track adoption by users, rather than by companies, with millions of users’ privacy requests ignored,” said Aleecia McDonald, an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University, who helped oversee the DNT process. “The push for privacy in Europe could use Do Not Track as a technical mechanism, as could California’s new Consumer Privacy law.”"