DNSFilter provides the feature to block tracking domains with a distinct Trackers category, separate from our Advertising category. This feature empowers you to enhance user privacy within your networks.
You can locate and activate this functionality on the 'Advanced > Extra Settings' tab of your filtering policy.
What are trackers?
Trackers are scripts and services embedded within websites, collecting information about site visitors. Although seemingly harmless, a surprising amount of data can be compiled, including:
- How long you've remained on a page
- How far you've scrolled
- Your originating site
- Where your mouse is hovering
- Your geographical location
- And much more...
Our Trackers category blocks domains hosting tracking scripts. This feature provides functionality similar to a browser extension, like UBlock, without requiring installation. DNS-based blocking is superior. In the case of a browser extension, you download the script and then block it. DNS-based blocking prevents the script from downloading in the first place.
Tracking methodologies have become quite sophisticated. Common techniques include server-to-server tracking (where the site sends data about you directly to another server, instead of your browser doing that for you), CNAME cloaking (concealing behind domain aliases), and obfuscation (attempting to mask what's genuinely happening).
While our blocking capabilities cannot prevent everything, they contribute significantly to thwarting your users from transmitting and sharing identifiable information.
Certain websites, like streaming services, intertwine their functionality heavily with tracking services. They may even diminish or remove capability based on the successful loading of the tracking script. If you encounter this, refer to our article on debugging with the query log to unblock specific domains.
Why Is It Important to Block Trackers?
There are several reasons to block tracking scripts:
It occurs without the user's knowledge
Rarely are users informed that sites are quietly tracking their activity. Even when this is disclosed, it's typically indirect and attempts to obscure the extent of the tracking—it's often just a message with no option to disable the tracking. This design makes it challenging to disable or block. Ever wondered why?
The alarming aspect is the uncertainty about what exactly is being tracked on a given website. Although you can request information that a company holds on you, that's just one company, and the shared data is likely incomplete. After all, there could be a profile tied to your real identity or an anonymized user profile that the data collectors know quite well. However, they won't disclose that anonymized profile to you when you request the information.
It's a significant amount of data
These databases are enormous. Freedom of Information requests, which can compel companies to provide a copy of the data they hold on you, often yield thousands of pages of data, or gigabytes of information about you. Site visits from years ago, long-forgotten purchases, even sensitive searches—everything is stored.
It's not used for the nicest reasons
There's a common saying: If you're not paying for the product, you are the product.
Free online services usually generate revenue through advertising, and the advertising industry craves data.
Your information can feed into extensive databases to construct a picture of who you are, what you like, what you dislike, and ultimately, to sell you products. Consider if even a small percentage of the sites you visit sold or shared their info to a database—they could probably create a relatively accurate profile of you as an internet user. The primary purpose of all of this data collection is to present you with relevant ads while you're online. The more information they have about you, the more targeted their approach can be.