Abine releases do-not-track browser add-on

The Firefox add-on will let users pick which websites they will allow to track them for advertising purposes

A company that builds tools to give greater privacy online released a free browser extension on Tuesday that lets users selectively decide which websites they will allow to track them.

The extension, from the company Abine, is called "Do Not Track Plus," and is compatible with Mozilla's Firefox browser.

The extension uses the proposed do-not-track mechanism under discussion in the U.S. and elsewhere. The mechanism allows a user to opt out of behavioral advertising -- where a user's movements on the Internet are recorded and tracked -- by sending an HTTP header to a website informing the site the user does not want to be watched.

So far, websites and advertising networks are not employing do not track, but it is expected soon that companies will embrace it following demands from users for greater privacy when browsing the Internet, said Rob Shavell, co-founder of Abine.

Browser makers have responded to those privacy concerns. Mozilla's latest Firefox 4 browser supports the do-not-track mechanism. Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 browser has what it calls "Tracking Protection," which allows users to import third-party lists of domains whose tracking advertising technologies will be blocked. Abine also publishes a an advertising block list for IE9.

Firefox's approach is all-or-nothing, however: Employing the do-not-track feature blocks all tracking. But Abine's Do Not Track Plus add-on allows users to selectively decide which sites they agree to be tracked and which ones to ban, Shavell said.

Abine hasn't built an add-on for Google's Chrome browser since the company has made it technically impossible to create a customized HTTP header, which is what the do not track mechanism relies on, Shavell said. Google has made its fortunes from online advertising and owns Doubleclick, a major online advertising network.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission supports a do-not-track mechanism for consumers. On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation is due to hold a hearing in Washington, D.C., titled "The State of Online Consumer Privacy."

The committee will examine online privacy issues, including the collection and dissemination of sensitive and private consumer information, according to a summary of the hearing.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags applicationssecuritybrowserssoftwareAbineprivacy

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?