Opt Out of Behavioral Internet Ads, All Hail Firefox!
Mozilla's head of privacy announced on its blog yesterday
they are working on technology that will allow users to Opt-Out of advertising
specifically aimed at them through their browsing habits.
The Do Not Track HTTP header will send with every clicked page
in Firefox letting third-party servers know you do not want behavioral advertising. Unfortunately, this won't completely eliminate ads, just targeted material created from the user’s browser cache.
Hats off to Mozilla for finding an easier way than blacklists
and cookies to deliver the user more control over their privacy and Web
The downside of this method is users and webmasters alike will
have to implement the header. Getting ad servers to implement this should be
fun. It doesn't seem likely they'll be willing to change their current annoying
practices, especially if it affects their bottom line.
Mozilla's timing couldn't be better. The U.S. Department of Commerce recommended the creation of an online privacy bill of rights. The government wants accountability from these online consortiums hoarding private data. Global enforcement of such a policy would be contingent on cooperation, and so far there doesn't seem to be a lot of that going around.
There is a bright side to all of this: Mozilla is open source,
which increases the chances of a brilliant coder writing an ad filter that the
ad servers can't bypass and the internet becomes a peaceful no-ad zone.