Mozilla to offer new feature for improved online privacy

But all browsers and websites would have to implement the technology for the system to work

Mozilla, the developer of the Firefox browser, is working a feature that will allow users to opt-out of online behavioral advertising.

The goal is to give users "a deeper understanding of and control over personal information online," Mozilla's head of privacy said in a blog posted on Sunday.

The feature will allow users to configure their Firefox browser to tell websites and advertisers that they would like to opt-out of any advertising based on their behavior, Alex Fowler [cq] wrote in his blog post. The user's preference is communicated to websites and third party ad servers using a new "Do Not Track HTTP header", which is sent with every click or page view in Firefox.

The feature wouldn't block advertising altogether, only personalized ads. If the user has enabled the feature, the advertiser would have to exchange the personalized ad for a standard ad, according to a diagram included in the blog post.

Mozilla believes the header-based approach will be better for the Web in the long run, compared to cookies or blacklists. Using a header is less complex, more persistent than cookie-based solutions and at the same time simple to locate and use. It doesn't rely on a user's finding and loading lists of ad networks and advertisers to work, Fowler wrote.

However, rolling out the feature will be a challenge. For it to work, both browsers and sites will have to implement it. To get past this issue, Mozilla wants to work with the technical community to standardize the header across the industry, according to Fowler. It is also proposing that the feature be considered for upcoming releases of Firefox.

Mozilla's announcement comes on the heels of a U.S. government call to improve online privacy. In December, the U.S. Department of Commerce recommended the creation of an online privacy bill of rights and an enforceable code of conduct for Internet firms handling consumer data and tracking Web users.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags applicationsbrowsersMozilla Foundationsoftwaremozilla

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

Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

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.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?