Saturday, April 16, 2011

Apple Adds 'Do Not Track' to Safari

Apple has jumped on the "do not track" bandwagon by adding the privacy tool to a test version of its Safari browser, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The "do not track" option is included in Lion, the next version of Apple's Mac OS X. It's currently only available to developers, and scheduled to be released later this year. The Journal said mentions of "do not track" started popping up in Web forums and on Twitter; Apple has not made any formal announcements.

A "do not track" option basically provides Web users with the option to not have their online activity tracked. This type of data is highly valuable to ad networks, which can use it to serve up more targeted advertisements. In many cases, relevant ads can be helpful to the Web surfer, baut there is a concern that the average person has no idea what type of information is actually being collected. "Do not track" will provide them more control, according to supporters.

Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla already incorporate versions of "do not track" into their browsers.

The "Advanced" screen in Mozilla's Firefox 4 Options tool now includes a box that, when checked, tells websites that you want to opt-out of tracking used for behavioral advertising. Mozilla added the feature to a pre-build version of Firefox in January, and added it to the beta in February.

Microsoft Tracking Protection was included in the release candidate of Internet Explorer 9, which was announced earlier this year. At the launch event for the RC, Microsoft also announced four partners for Tracking Protection: Abine, TRUSTe, PrivacyChoice, and AdBlock Plus. These firms will provide lists of sites that plant small tracking code on many other Web sites to profile users' site history and habits. The Tracking Protection feature in IE9, which was first introduced in December, will allow users to block this snooping by either using one of these lists or automatically determining the offending web domains. In later February, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a Web standards body, gave Microsoft's plan its stamp of approval.

Google, meanwhile, has a Chrome Extention called Keep My Opt-Outs, which empowers users to permanently opt out of ad-tracking cookies.

"Do not track" initiatives got moving in December when the Federal Trade Commission unveiled a broad plan for online privacy, which included the "do not track" provision.

Congress has also stepped into the debate. In February, Rep. Jackie Speier introduced the Do Not Track Me Online Act of 2011, which would give the FTC 18 months to come up with standards for companies to follow when it comes to online tracking.

Several people with a very good lawyer and attorney took this idea to court, trying to get more privacy. Although these trials did not go through and make change, these uprises led to reform.
Just this week, Sens. John Kerry and John McCain also introduced a new "privacy bill of rights" law that would give users more control over how their information is used on the Web, while Rep. Cliff Stearns, a Florida Republican, introduced a similar measure in the House, dubbed the Consumer Privacy Protection Act of 2011. Anyone who goes against this law and takes advantage, well you will definitely need a new lawyer or some attorneys because John McCain will stand up against you.

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