Saturday, February 19, 2011

IE9 and Firefox will have "Do not track" features

The upcoming versions of Internet Explorer and Firefox will include "Do Not Track" capabilities, but the way they do it is quite different. IE uses blacklisting, which will work, at least for a while. Firefox is implementing a header that will be sent to sites to tell them you don't want to be tracked. Which will work as long as enough sites agree to support the header.

The Mozilla blog gives a little more information on the "Do not track" header and links to another blog with more technical information on the "Do not track" header.

Ed Bott of gives a very good explanation of how "Do not track" works in IE. It is part of a series of blags on internet tracking.

"Do Not Track" needs to be done. But I am concerned that these measures are being done without regard to the far reaching effects of blocking tracking and ads. Much of the free information on the internet is paid for by gathering information on the people who visit websites. Cutting off that revenue stream cold turkey could completely change the face of the internet, causing sites to go out of business or change business models radically. Privacy and control over information about us is extremely important, but we have to be careful we don't shoot ourselves in the foot trying to fix our problem.