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President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign website re-launched on Tuesday—but don’t expect any special treatment if you have a “Do-Not-Track” (DNT) option enabled in your browser.
Essentially DNT signals are a way to keep users’ online behavior and browsing habits obscured from the prying eyes of advertisers, analytic companies, social media websites, and others. The option to enable DNT signals is available on many major browsers.
According to Trump’s website, because the DNT feature “varies from browser to browser,” it is “not clear whether the signals are intentionally transmitted by a user, or whether a user is even aware of this.”
“Despite current efforts, there is still disagreement amongst leading Internet standards organizations, industry groups, technology companies, and regulators, concerning what, if anything, websites should do when they receive such signals and no standard has been adopted to date,” the clause states.
The fact DNT’s are mentioned at all is surprising, said Alexei Miagkov, a staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Many websites don’t list DNT signals in their privacy policies, Miagkov said, and it’s even rarer for websites to actually respect them.
“I think the standard process has been going on for a long time,” Miagkov told the Daily Dot in a phone conversation. “Right now, the easiest thing to do is to do nothing. It takes more effort to be compliant. Unless you’re a very privacy conscious company, there’s no incentive to do it.”
That shouldn’t discourage you from turning on DNT, Miagkov said. In fact, the EFF has a policy for companies to adopt regarding DNT, and it and launched Privacy Badger, a browser extension that stops advertisers and others from secretly tracking your browsing history and habits.
“Privacy is a fundamental human right,” Miagkov said. “This is an already existing way to say ‘I care about my privacy.’”
As for the statement’s on Trump’s website, Miagkov said the EFF would like to see some different wording.
“We’d really like it if Trump’s website said, ‘If we see a DNT, we won’t track,’” he said.
Emails sent to Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks and the general press contact address (which is no longer listed on Trump’s website) asking for comments were not returned.
The website was re-launched just one day after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked during Monday’s press briefing about the words “Muslim Ban” remaining on the president’s campaign website.
In addition to the added DNT clause, Trump’s new website also lets people find out the “truth the mainstream media is hiding” about the president’s first 100 days—a goalpost he called “ridiculous standard” just last month. There’s also a “Moms for Trump” shop where you can find a last-minute Mother’s Day gift.
You can also, obviously, donate to Trump’s re-election campaign for president three years and 11 months before the next presidential election.
Andrew Wyrich is a politics staff writer for the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the internet. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Society of the Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).