Google, Mozilla Add 'Do Not Track' Functionality To Chrome, Firefox Browsers

Mozilla Firefox

Last month, the Federal Trade Commission told Congress that it supported giving consumers a "do not track" option as a means to thwart companies from tracking users' Web-browsing habits for the purpose of targeting advertising towards them.

David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, told the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection last December that the practice of tracking consumers’ activities online to target advertising, known as behavioral advertising, holds value for consumers because it supports content and services on the Web and delivers more personalized ads, according to the FTC.

But the commission noted that more transparency and consumer control regarding the practice are needed to protect consumers.

Mozilla has become the first browser to act on the FTC's request, according to The Wall Street Journal. But for a do-not-track option built into Firefox to work, tracking companies would need to agree not to monitor users who enable the feature.

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"We believe the header-based approach has the potential to be better for the web in the long run because it is a clearer and more universal opt-out mechanism than cookies or blacklists" wrote Mozilla's Alex Fowler in a blog post here. According to The Journal, no companies have publicly agreed to participate in the system.

"The challenge with adding this to the header is that it requires both browsers and sites to implement it to be fully effective," Fowler wrote in the blog. "Mozilla recognizes the chicken and egg problem and we are taking the step of proposing that this feature be considered for upcoming releases of Firefox."

Meanwhile, Google announced an extension called "Keep My Opt-Outs" for Chrome users "who aren't comfortable with personalization of the ads they see on the Web." The extension prevents advertisers from personalizing their ads delivered to your PC and from tracking data about your usage for online advertising, according to Google.

"We recognize that some users are uncomfortable with the personalization of ads that they see on the web and we offer many levels of control over this personalization. Two years ago we launched two ground-breaking innovations, the Ads Preferences Manager ( and the industry’s first persistent cookie opt-out. Now we’re giving users who don’t want their ads personalized the same permanent, one-click control for advertising-related cookies across our industry," wrote Google in a statement on the Chrome Web store site.

Microsoft previously said that Internet Explorer 9 will include "do-not-track" functionality when it is released early this year, but The Wall Street Journal reported last year that Microsoft removed similar features from Internet Explorer 8 after online advertisers expressed concerns about the impact on their business, according to the newspaper.

More information on the privacy and personalized advertising can be found at