Mozilla to Help Users Opt Out of Behavioral Advertising

By Cindy Waxer January 24, 2011

Are you interested in blocking advertisers from tracking your online behavior? Mozilla wants to help. The developer of the Firefox browser is developing a feature that will let users opt-out of online behavioral advertising.

According to a blog posting written by Alex Fowler, Mozilla’s head of privacy: “We’re pleased to be able to share one of these efforts today in the area known as ‘Do Not Track,’ which is best understood in current policy discussions to provide a way for people to opt-out of online behavioral advertising (OBA). As the first of many steps, we are proposing a feature that allows users to set a browser preference that will broadcast their desire to opt-out of third party, advertising-based tracking by transmitting a Do Not Track HTTP header with every click or page view in Firefox. When the feature is enabled and users turn it on, web sites will be told by Firefox that a user would like to opt-out of OBA. We believe the header-based approach has the potential to be better for the web in the long run because it is a clearer and more universal opt-out mechanism than cookies or blacklists.”

Well, Mozilla isn’t the only entity that wants to help consumers keep their Web browsing habits to themselves. In December, the Federal Trade Commission proposed a ‘Do Not Track’ tool – most likely a persistent setting on consumers’ browsers – so that consumers can choose whether to permit the collection of data regarding their online searching and browsing activities. Essentially, consumers would be able to opt out of the collection of information about their Internet behavior for targeted ads with the click of a button signaling the consumer’s choices about being tracked and receiving targeted ads.

“Technological and business ingenuity have spawned a whole new online culture and vocabulary – e-mail, IMs, apps and blogs – that consumers have come to expect and enjoy. The FTC wants to help ensure that the growing, changing, thriving information marketplace is built on a framework that promotes privacy, transparency, business innovation and consumer choice. We believe that’s what most Americans want as well,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz, in a statement.

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Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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