Browser Makers Get on Board with ‘Do Not Track’

Browser developers are slowly starting to get on board with implementing the Do Not Track function. But there’s a long way to go before it becomes universal.

Yesterday, Google announced that it’s making available an extension for the Chrome browser called “Keep My Opt-Outs.” It allows the user to opt out permanently from tracking cookies.

Previously, Mozilla’s Mike Shaver, V.P. of Engineering said they are looking into this technology as well. Last month, Microsoft’s Dean Hachamovitch, the head of Internet Explorer development announced what it calls “Tracking Protection” for IE9.

Google’s Sean Harvey explained: “However, the industry has faced a recurring technical challenge with these opt-outs and controls. If you clear your browser’s cookies, all customized settings — including these opt-outs — are lost. Another challenge is that sometimes new companies offer opt-outs, so you’d have to check frequently to make sure you’re opted out of what you want. A better ‘Do Not Track’ mechanism is a browser extension that means you can easily opt out of personalized advertising from all participating ad networks only once and store that setting permanently.”

Back in December, the Federal Trade Commission proposed a framework to balance the privacy interests of consumers with the needs of advertisers. That initiative is slowly working its way into the consciousness of the browser vendors who are developing the general idea of the Do Not Track flag to be recognized by a web server.

Apple is not known to have made any public statements about plans for Safari.