TRUSTe's Opt Out Is a Cynical Joke

1 min read

I've been meaning to write this out for a while.

TRUSTe's "opt-out" option is a cynical joke. The page is here:

Here are a few reasons why this "solution" is worthless.

  • this opt-out "solution" doesn't stop data collection, it just stops the display of ads.
  • participation in this program isn't required; it's voluntary. Some vendors don't participate at all, where others participate but don't integrate with TRUSTe's platform.
    This doesn't work.

    From an end user perspective, this means that opting out via TRUSTe's "solution" requires visiting multiple sites, just to trigger an opt-out mechanism that doesn't actually stop data collection.
  • the "solution" is cookie based, so whenever a person resets their cookies, even these pathetically limited opt out options go away.

An actual solution is using a javascript blocker, and/or uBlock Origin and Privacy Badger.

When an industry-backed "solution" is this toothless, it creates the distinct impression that industry is phoning this in. Over the last few years, the FTC and the New York Attorney General have seen some problems here as well.