Mozilla issues do-not-track guide for advertisers

The guide includes tutorials, case studies and sample code aimed at encouraging implementation of the technology

Mozilla issued a Do Not Track Field Guide to encourage advertisers and publishers to implement do-not-track (DNT) functionality.

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The guide contains tutorials, case studies and sample code to illustrate how companies use the DNT technology. Mozilla aims to inspire developers, publishers and advertisers to adopt DNT and wants to put the control over Internet tracking into the hands of users. The browser maker wants to put a stop to behavioral targeting and pervasive tracking on the Web.

"Over the past six months, we've worked closely with developers at leading advertising, publishing and technology companies to implement DNT," Alex Fowler, global privacy and public policy leader at Mozilla said in a blog post. Companies that collaborated forming the guide include the AP News Registry service, run by the Associated Press, and the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA), which represents more than 5,000 leading media and technology companies.

According to Fowler there are more Firefox users who have turned on DNT than there are using AdBlock Plus, one of the most popular Mozilla add-ons used to block online advertising. "Our Metrics team has been following adoption (in a privacy friendly way) over the past few months and we're seeing almost 5% of our user base with DNT enabled," Fowler said. According to Mozilla more than 450 million people around the world use Firefox. Mozilla hopes the guide will inspire developers to implement DNT features.

Peter Eckersley, technology projects director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said he is very pleased that Mozilla is doing the legwork to educate advertisers. However, according to him the Do Not Track Field Guide is a small step to "a culture of invention" that is needed to guarantee privacy on the Web. "There is more work down the road," he said. Advertisers should be convinced that a full opt-out option is the only way to go.

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