If you use any type of social media or a variety of mobile apps, you sometimes receive notices about changes in the website’s privacy policies. And if you’re a very smart citizen of the internet, you read those notices and keep track of privacy settings for your browsers and social media accounts. But, in case you missed it, Twitter and Hulu have recently changed their policies about tracking your on-line behavior, and they are not alone. More and more companies are updating their privacy policies to track more of your behavior, so you have to be even more vigilant to protect yourself.
Watch for new privacy features coming from the browser software companies. In 2018, Google’s Chrome browser will begin blocking ads, such as pop-ups and autoplay videos, that don’t meet the standards set by the Coalition for Better Ads (CBA) industry group. Soon Apple’s Safari browser will use technology called “intelligent tracking prevention” to identify cookies that present a tracking threat and stop them. And you can already get Privacy Badger, a Chrome extension that automatically blocks third-party trackers that follow you around the web and spy on you.
Finally, you can vote with your actions or, in this case, your keyboard, and not participate in sites that don’t respect DNT. (This article in Marketing Land has an interactive graphic showing the DNT policies of major websites.) As a potential customer of online advertisers, you have more power than you think. If violating people’s privacy hurts companies on the bottom line, things are a lot more likely to change.