Do Not Track Plus

Do Not Track Plus is a browser extension that blocks ad networks and social sites from tracking you on the web. I’ve had this extension installed for the past couple of months and I had zero problems with it.

The Do Not Track Plus extension in action: blocking 14 tracking companies on one website
Do Not Track Plus in action: blocking 14(!) different tracking cookies on a single web site: 3 social networks (Facebook, Twitter and Google), 4 adnetworks (Microsoft, Quantcast, Lotame and Dedicated Networks) and 7 analytics services (Google Analytics, Comscore, Microsoft Atlas, Quantcast, Lotame, ChartBeat and Doublclick).

Facebook and Twitter Can Track You and Know Who You Are

Advertising companies have been using cookies to track people across the web forever. While these companies were able to create detailed usage profiles, it was not easy to link these profiles to a real person – your anonymity was mostly preserved.

This changed a few years ago when Facebook began promoting its Facebook Connect and sharing buttons. Now, Facebook can track you across all web sites that contain a Facebook Connect or Share button, which is basically everywhere. And if you use the same browser to log in to Facebook (it doesn’t matter whether you are actually logged in while you are visiting other sites), the company can connect your web usage to your Facebook profile. Now, Facebook claims that they do not store this information and do not track people across the web. Even if I believed them, I’d much rather not provide Facebook with my web usage data in the first place. Which is exactly what the Do Not Track Plus extension does.

To be clear, this is not just about Facebook. Twitter and Google can do exactly the same thing with their Tweet and Like buttons, widgets, embedded tweets and timelines. By blocking these companies, you won’t see these elements on websites anymore, but I rarely found that something I wanted to see was blocked. When it happens, you can easily unblock that service for the current site and reload the page.

One Extension To Block Them All

Do Not Track Plus can block these social sites, ad networks and also analytics services like Google Analytics. It’s your choice which of these you want to block. I found that when I first installed the extension, not everything I wanted blocked was blocked by default (including some of the social network sites), so I recommend you go to the plugin’s settings and choose “Block all” first. Then selectively unblock services you are fine with.

Do Not Track Plus is available for all major browsers.

The settings screen of the Do Not Track Plus extension
Do Not Track Plus's Settings screen: I suggest you click “Block all” and then selectively unblock services of your choice.