In January 2011 Mozilla proposed a new browser feature to help people control who tracks and logs our online activities. This feature is known as “Do Not Track.” It’s a simple way for a person to tell the advertising networks that he or she does not want to be tracked.
Since Mozilla introduced DNT to the market last year, other major browser vendors and web properties have announced their support for DNT on the desktop– Apple and Opera in 2011; and Microsoft not long ago. This week the Google Chrome implementation of DNT is starting to appear in the market. With Chrome joining, we’ve now reached the point where all major desktop browsers support DNT. This is an important step forward for Do Not Track, and for Mozilla’s goal of bring user control and choice to everyone.
When we first proposed Do Not Track we knew it would take a lot of work as well as some luck to be successful. But we knew that many people feel online tracking is creepy and a bit like being stalked. And of course Mozilla’s mission pushes us to do the things our commercial competitors aren’t likely to do. We felt the time was right and we should take the risk and try to improve the state of the industry in this area.
The time was right. Desktop browsers, plus Firefox on Android, now allow us to identify ourselves as not wanting to be tracked. A number of advertising organizations, including Google, have announced they will support the Do Not Track request. Adoption of DNT has been about 11% on Firefox desktop and about 16% on Firefox for Android (currently the only mobile browser to support DNT).
Mozilla’s work on Do Not Track is one facet of our work to bring User Sovereignty to all aspects of online life. Today we’re working on a richer user experience for Do Not Track, a related tool for understanding the flow of information between sites, a way of allowing people to control more of our online identity, and more.
Expect more from Mozilla on these topics!