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Apple is withdrawing Safari's Do Not Track feature

It's pretty useless and might even make your browser more vulnerable to tracking.
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stockcam via Getty Images

The upcoming version of Apple's Safari browser will no longer come with "Do Not Track," but it's not because the tech giant doesn't care about your privacy anymore. As 9to5mac notes, Safari version 12.1's release notes come with a line that says it's removing "support for the expired Do Not Track standard to prevent potential use as a fingerprinting variable." It might not be obvious because of the implications of the feature's name, but Do Not Track actually just sends a voluntary signal -- a suggestion, if you will -- that websites don't have to follow.

According to a new report by DuckDuckGo, tens of millions of American users aren't aware that Do Not Track doesn't actually block websites from tracking your activities. The privacy-focused search engine explains that switching the feature on is about as foolproof as sticking a "Please, don't look into my house" sign on the front lawn while your blinds are open. Or perhaps like putting up a "Don't step on the grass" sign and expecting everyone, even the bossy family cat, to respect it.

In other words, axing Safari's Do Not Track feature will not affect your privacy -- Apple has an anti-tracking technology called "Intelligent Tracking Prevention" anyway. Originally launched in 2017, the technology uses machine learning to identify ad tracking behavior and prevent advertisers from following your movements as you jump from one URL to the next.

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