Jan 252011
 
 January 25, 2011  Business, Online

Not everyone is dancing in the streets over Mozilla’s new Do Not Track feature. Mike Martin of TechNewsWorld reports from the you-can’t-please-everyone dept:

Like the Incredibles, facing down a nefarious, subterranean villain called “the Underminer” at the end of their debut movie, Mozilla is facing down data miners by giving Firefox users a new, albeit less-than-incredible power.

The browser feature will give users the ability to opt out of behavior-based advertising. Websites and ad servers will get a “do not disturb” message via a click-transmitted “do not track HTTP header,” a better approach, Mozilla claims, than cookies or user-blacklists of advertisers.

As a non-standard platform, the header approach will rely not only on Firefox, but on websites for implementation. It follows a December 2010 call from the U.S. Department of Commerce for an “online privacy bill of rights” and an Internet data collection “code of conduct” — red flags that suggest the new tool may simply be an attempt to fend off future privacy legislation.

[…]

“I see no incentive to participate without legislation,” Pace University’s Hayes explained. “It’s hard to see companies who also advertise trying to provide full cooperation to make this a success for Mozilla.”

History tends to agree, SIT’s Bayuk Observed. “Other consortiums, like a group that promised to report security bugs in 30 days or so, have petered out. I don’t see any inducement to use the Firefox do-not-track header except the good press that might come with it.”

To put it bluntly, “this is a public relations ploy by Firefox’s parent (the Mozilla Foundation),” said technology public relations specialist Richard Laermer.

It’s unlikely to receive widespread adoption, he told TechNewsWorld, “because most people don’t even comprehend what tracking is.”

Read more on TechNewsWorld.

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