Opt-Out Tracking is an Awful Idea

Tue, Jul 6, 2021 One-minute read

Someone invented a new standardized way to opt out of telemetry for command line applications. This is a horrid idea.

The existence of the setting establishes "tracking is OK!" as the default, and makes opting out the responsibility of the end user. With this in place, if a company collects the names of all the files in my home directory, it's my fault for not tweaking some random setting correctly. (For technical types: don't forget to set the "don't track me!" variable in your crontabs, or else they'll run with tracking enabled! Be sure to add it to your sudoers file, or now root commands spy on you!)

If this should exist at all, it should be in the form of a "go ahead and spy on me!" whitelist, with all telemetry and other spyware disabled unless explicitly enabled. Then it becomes the responsibility of each application's author to encourage their users to enable it. Or better, get over the bizarre and radical notion of enabling spyware in command line utilities.