Mozilla bringing back online privacy?

1 Dec

[Originally posted on the website of Heather Brooke]

The makers of popular internet browser Firefox are attempting to implement a ‘do-not-track’ mechanism to prevent users being monitored online.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Mozilla had previously ‘killed’ a powerful new tool to limit online tracking after coming under pressure from the advertising industry. Mozilla claims the tool was scrapped out of concern advertisers would be forced to adopt ‘sneakier techniques’ and could slow down some websites.

Mike Shaver, vice president of engineering at Mozilla, told WSJ: “I wouldn’t say we are under pressure from advertisers. They are a big part of the economics of the Web. We want to understand what their needs are.”

The needs of advertisers are definitely well-understood by Mozilla, as their most recent financial statements reveal about $86 million of its $104 million in 2009 revenue came from an advertising agreement with Google.

Both Google and Microsoft are said to be awaiting details of a do-not-track proposal before they take a position. Apple has declined to comment on the matter. If the majority of commercial browsers refuse to make progress with online privacy then Mozilla’s announcement is more a toe-in-the-water than a step forward.

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