Mozilla proposes 'Do Not Track' feature in Firefox


Mozilla has proposed a Firefox feature designed to boost user privacy and control when browsing.

The Do Not Track' (DNT) addition would give people an opt-out option for online behavioural advertising (OBA) tracking, the browser creator said.

"As the first of many steps, we are proposing a feature that allows users to set a browser preference that will broadcast their desire to opt-out of third party, advertising-based tracking by transmitting a Do Not Track HTTP header with every click or page view in Firefox," Mozilla's technology and privacy officer, Alex Fowler, explained in a blog.

"When the feature is enabled and users turn it on, websites will be told by Firefox that a user would like to opt-out of OBA."

As yet, it is unclear if or when such a feature would be added to the Firefox browser, or whether it would be added to the upcoming 4.0 version - the release candidate of which is expected to be out by the end of next month.

The proposals around DNT were posted to the Mozilla community today and the Firefox creator said it could work to standardise the HTTP header technique across the browser industry.

You can head here for a diagram of how the feature could work.

"It's important to reiterate that while our initial proposal does not represent a complete solution, this is one step of many for us to see if the header approach can work and confirm that it will provide our users a more nuanced, persistent tool for communicating privacy choices on the web," Fowler added.

"We believe the HTTP header is a constructive approach and one of the many areas we're exploring to put users in control of their web experience."

There has been plenty of discussion around web user tracking in recent times.

Towards the end of 2010, the NHS came under fire for allowing Facebook and Google to track users on its website.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.