It is ironic that some of the most popular websites on the planet that assure they do not collect data are seen to be violating privacy rules. The recent Facebook scandal is just one of the many news stories that have cropped up in the past few months that deal with the invasion of user privacy on a global scale. With EUGDPR already in effect, we think it is the right time to release our stand on user data collection. As a privacy company, Astrill respects your privacy and regards it as one of the chief purposes of our existence. And we do that by complying with your Do Not Track (DNT) requests.
In that regard, here’s an overview of what Do Not Track means and how it matters to you both as an Internet and Astrill user.
DNT is a User’s Power Tool
We believe that everyone has the right to be private while on the Internet, and our privacy tools are just purveyors that help you exercise that right. In such a scenario, DNT can be seen as a tool that you can use to dictate if and how companies (websites) use your information.
To clearly understand what Do Not Track is, let us take the example of an Astrill user. Jacob is from the United States who uses Astrill VPN to surf the Internet privately through his home network. As a social media manager, he tends to visit a lot of websites on a daily basis as part of his research and work. Now, to avoid advertisers and analytics companies from using his on-line behavioral information he considers the DNT header. Jacob uses his Google Chrome browser to send opt-out requests to each of these websites, saying that he does not want to be tracked.
However, it should be noted that websites are not bound by any legal instrument to honor the DNT requests. They can choose to accept the signals sent by a user’s browser or can reject it (Microsoft, for example). This puts us in the large minority; that is if you have enabled the Do Not Track feature on your preferred browser (Google Chrome has adopted it), when you access any of Astrill’s web pages, you stand assured that we will respect the request. Despite EFF’s fervent lobbying, universal adoption of DNT is still a dream.
How Does ‘Do Not Track’ Actually Work?
For the sake of simplicity, we like to define DNT as an opt-out signal that you can send through your browser (Chrome or Firefox, for instance) to the websites you are visiting. This signal is in the form of a machine-readable header (DNT header, as it is called) which tells a specific website that you do not want to be tracked. There’s also a dedicated website for DNT where you can find guides and other information about the program.
Whether you are on your Windows PC or on your iPhone, you can take advantage of this opt-out feature to further safeguard your private information. Astrill already has a detailed privacy disclosure as to what basic information it collects from its users, but we also want to equip our users with all the power tools available. Unlike most other sites on the web, Astrill also recommends using ad blockers (Adblock Plus; Ghostery) which adds to all the measures that we are taking to make the Internet a safer and better place.
It wouldn’t be wrong to see DNT as a privilege considering how user-hostile incidents on the Internet have been rampant these days. But, if you are an Astrill VPN user and care for your information, you should check out more about it at the EEF website here. You can also read more about privacy and security on our blog.
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