Mozilla finally has something to brag about when it comes to Do Not Track and brag it does. Mozilla's privacy lead Alex Fowler praises Twitter for its adoption of the Do Not Track header and is sharing some numbers about adoption, which are quite impressive.
Do Not Track was introduced about a year ago by Mozilla, it's been available in Firefox for a year and has just been introduced to Thunderbird as well. Since then, there has been work on making it an industry standard.
There are several advertisers who have started adopting it, but there's still much to be done until it's an effective tool for your privacy.
"Current adoption rates of Do Not Track are 8.6% for desktop users of Firefox and 19% for Firefox Mobile users and we see the highest percentage of users turning on Do Not Track in The Netherlands, France and the United States," Fowler said
Mozilla conducted a survey regarding Do Not Track and found that about half of users believed their privacy was better protected with the option enabled.
It's unclear though whether those users actually know how Do Not Track works. The feature is a bit misleading since, in effect, the setting does nothing.
Having Do Not Track enabled can in no way force any website to respect it. For example, if users set their browser to not accept cookies, then no website can place any cookie, unless exploiting some workaround. That's not true with Do Not Track, websites can do as they please and there isn't even any way for users to know whether sites respect the feature or not.
All that said, Do Not Track is getting adoption from companies and advertisers and peer pressure may be enough for it to be respected by most big players. But it's precisely because the big companies will respect it that other smaller and less scrupulous ones won't.