Adzerk Joins EFF's "Do Not Track" Coalition, Becomes First Online Advertising Company to Adopt New Privacy Standard
EFF and privacy company Disconnect launched the standard last month, and today Adzerk joins privacy-focused companies such as Medium, Mixpanel, AdBlock, and DuckDuckGo in their commitment to better protect users from sites that try to secretly follow and record their Internet activity.
What is Do Not Track?
DNT is a preference you can set on Firefox, Chrome, or other Web browsers as well as in the iOS or FirefoxOS mobile operating systems. Setting the DNT flag signals to websites that you want to opt-out of tracking of your online activities. It works in tandem with software like Privacy Badger and Disconnect, which not only set the flag but also block trackers and ads that do not respect it.
Tracking by advertisers and other third parties is ubiquitous on the Web today, and typically occurs without the knowledge, permission, and consent of Internet users. However, you can see the evidence of this tracking when the online ads you see on one site seem to be based on what you looked at on another site. Meanwhile, the underlying records and profiles of your online activity are distributed between a vast network of advertising exchanges, data brokers, and tracking companies.
"Many websites get much of their operating revenue from online ads, yet the groundswell of discomfort from users about how their private information is being collected and used is leading to a boom in ad-blocking technologies. We need to find a way for privacy and advertising to work together," says Adzerk CEO James Avery. "The new Do Not Track gives us a way to provide publishers with ads that respect users' privacy and online choices, and which as a result will be visible in more users' browsers".
How is Adzerk implementing DNT?
Adzerk is the first online advertising company that is offering its customers the ability to opt-in to using DNT, which would pass the extra tracking protection on to our customers' users.
We will enable DNT on a customer-by-customer basis. They have two options:
- An "Honor DNT" setting that meets the EFF requirements for individual users
- A "Super DNT" setting that takes effect across a customer's entire account
For customers using Honor DNT, Adzerk will not set advertising cookies in a user's browser if they have chosen to enable DNT in their browser. We also won't store users' IP addresses in our logs for added security. This allows publishers and app developers to commit to their users' privacy while also enhancing advertising opportunities for users who consent to their data being shared, which is a win-win for all parties.
The Super DNT setting takes place for every user that views an Adzerk user's web properties, whether or not they have DNT enabled in their browser. This setting is ideal for customers who want to serve advertising but also want to assure users that they have no intent to engage with their personal data.
"Adzerk is an important new member of the Do Not Track coalition, helping to protect millions of Internet users and others from stealthy online tracking and exploitation of their reading history," says EFF Chief Computer Scientist Peter Eckersley. "We are thrilled that consensus keeps growing in the online advertising community: clear and fair practices are essential not only for privacy, but for the ongoing health of the industry."
If you are an Adzerk customer and would like to enable DNT for your account, please contact us and we'll be happy to discuss the next steps for getting you set up.
If you'd like to learn more about the details of DNT, vist the EFF's site.
Adzerk has been rooted in the Durham startup scene since we began. Even before we launched our public Beta in early 2011, we've had an office of some sort (some more closet-like than others) in downtown Durham. And we intend to keep our headquarters here.