Anybody who has read this website for some time knows I like to be optimistic when it comes to Mozilla, however I am not sure if I have much faith in the new Do Not Track system that has been partially put in place in the latest beta of Firefox 4. So what is all this buzz about Do Not Track about?
Well, to make a long legal story short – the FCC told all the browser brands out there that they need to come up with a way for users to opt out of being tracked for advertising reasons. So, of course, each browser is now pitching their own version of how to get this task done.
This is how Firefox’s Do Not Track feature should work:
- Firefox user enables Do Not Track option in the browser
- The user’s browser sends the Do Not Track header to a commercial website
- The commercial website provides the content of the website
- Third-party advertisers also get the Do Not Track header and then display anonymous ads rather than ones targeted at the individual
Sure, it is nice to have that extra option for more privacy if you want it – but there are a lot of factors that have to agree with this system in order for it to work. In a world of rainbows and kittens this might work, however in the real world I am fearful that it is doomed.
Why do I feel like Do Not Track is not going to be successful?
- How are you going to regulate it? If somebody fails to put the header info on their website, will there be a government raid of their computers? What about foreign websites?
- To work, you need the user, the website and the advertiser to fall in line. Seems like it is going to be hard to persuade them to change their websites so their advertising is less useful.
For more information on Do Not Track, I would recommend checking out the FAQ on it via the Mozilla Wiki. Let me know how you feel about it. Are you excited to see it put in place or do you think it is a waste of time?