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Mozilla Privacy Your Rights Online

Mozilla Issues Do-Not-Track Guide For Advertisers 74

Posted by samzenpus
from the stop-following-me dept.
angry tapir writes "Mozilla has issued a do not track field guide to encourage advertisers and publishers to implement do-not-track (DNT) functionality. 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. The guide can be found here (PDF)."
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Mozilla Issues Do-Not-Track Guide For Advertisers

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Rather than such a complex system, why not have the people who want to be tracked volunteer?
    They could download a browser app that transmits their browsing history to advertisers.
    If there is no one who wants to be tracked, then the problem solves itself.

    • by zero.kalvin (1231372) on Friday September 09, 2011 @08:20AM (#37350140)
      But how will they screw us in this case ? Absolutely unacceptable. If you do not want to be tracked you should take measures beyond your technical capabilities to do so. Companies has right to make a profit out of you! Now I'll Cite few laws of free market and free speech, so you would understand why you shouldn't get a free ride of them, do you get me now ?
    • by ByOhTek (1181381)

      Some people don't care if they are tracked or not, most probably don't.

      But, more importantly, how many people honestly think that these companies are not following 'do not track' rules because of incompetence or inability? They are not following them because they don't want to. This release by Mozilla is funny. It is akin to (while being mugged), telling the person mugging you, "mugging is wrong, you can also make money by getting a job!" If you thing that's going to work, you're an idiot.

      Here's a better so

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        Find companies that violate these rules.

        So that would be Mozilla, and other browser makers who allow this to happen by making the browsers so easily provide personal information.

        Every bit of information users can use to track you with the exception of your IP address is controlled by the browser.

        Cookies
        Cache
        User Agent
        Plugins
        HTTP-Accepts

        All of these methods and the others used to track people are a direct result of browser functionality. Of course, it won't be anywhere nearly as functional without these things, but thats another story. Mozilla d

        • by bonch (38532)

          Mozilla doesn't want to fix the problem. 'The Problem' is the reason they exist. Without tracking, Google would be far less profitable and would have far less incentive to pay Mozilla anything. If Mozilla actually fixed the problem, they'd cut off their food supply.

          Mozilla, Apple, and Opera have all publicly pledged to implement DNT functionality. It's Google who has so far refused to implement DNT in Chrome [wired.com] because ads are Google's core business.

          • by SnowZero (92219)

            Yes because going to:
            http://www.google.com/privacy/ads/ [google.com]
            and clicking on a button labelled "Opt out" is too damn hard.

            Of course according to you Google wouldn't do this since it is their core business, right?

            DNT is a nuclear weapon for honest companies, and a joke to be ignored for dishonest ones (it's like the famous Evil Bit). What is really needed is European-style privacy regulations (i.e. with actual teeth for bad actors), and a fine-grained permissions model on Websites (like iOS or Andr

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          So that would be Mozilla, and other browser makers who allow this to happen by making the browsers so easily provide personal information.

          Every bit of information users can use to track you with the exception of your IP address is controlled by the browser.

          Cookies
          Cache
          User Agent
          Plugins
          HTTP-Accepts

          Yeah, it would be nice if turning on DNT also set all those to the defaults regardless of what everyone else tries to set it. That way you've stated your request, and fingerprinting is a lot harder (pretty much IP

        • by ByOhTek (1181381)

          There are a lot of non-tracking purposes for which these are useful/necessary. Things that people aren't going to want to do without. They'd rather be tracked than do without.

      • Find companies that violate these rules.

        Wouldn't that be all of them? Certainly those whom you most want to block will always be those who won't take any notice of a polite request to stop. Seems to me that the only useful measure is to refuse all traffic from obnoxious servers, e.g. by hosts file blocking. The drawback is that you pretty much only build up that kind of blacklist the hard way, unless you are prepared to use someone else's list...

      • by Synerg1y (2169962)

        and if there are legitimate sites on that domain and the server is compromised and sending spam? Stop thinking rofl, it's already done for email somewhat effectively and it doesn't stop shit cause keyboard key combinations are infinite and most work as domain names.

        I think there should be an audit system, the problem is its hard to tell between advertisers and spammers, with the former being legal and the latter illegal, I never signed up for viagra to be delivered to my email, I don't half mind the newegg

        • by ByOhTek (1181381)

          Actually it's a good thing for those compromised sites - they'll find out they are compromised sooner, and users won't be put at risk by traveling to the site. That just means a process needs to be put in place to get off the blacklist. Maybe add IP address as well as host names - same logic.

          I'm not sure what the hell this rofl thinking you are talking about is.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Because they're going to track you either way. Mozilla needs to spend less time on this, and more time on implementing technical countermeasures to tracking.

      • by Haedrian (1676506)

        Ghostery
        NoScript
        Adblock plus

        Done.

      • by Lennie (16154)

        The real problem is.

        If you really don't want to be tracked, you need to:
        - disable javascript
        - disable cookies
        - disable the browsercache
        - remove all headers like Accept, User-Agent, Accept-Language, Accept-Encoding
        - disable all plugins (like flash)
        - use a different IP-address each time you connect to the same website

        And if you've done all that, you'll be the only one who is doing that. Thus you can be tracked again ;-)

        Good luck with that.

    • by thsths (31372)

      That is the big question. In Europe the law says you are only allowed to track people who agree to tracking. So current industry practice is to "presume" an implicit acknowledgement that free services on the internet are financed by ads and tracking.

      Once the user sets a "do not track" flag, that (already flimsy) argument falls down completely, and advertisers have to stop tracking you. It is legally quite clear, and I would not be surprised to see legal proceedings before the end of the year. Of course

    • Doesn't matter either way, this Do Not Track system is just an attempt to enter a gentleman's agreement with scumbags.

  • Good on Mozilla! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mfh (56)

    I think it's nice Mozilla is doing the right thing and leading by example. Now that they have explained HOW to do this, we'll know that everyone not doing it simply decided not to.

    • by ByOhTek (1181381)

      [...] we'll know that everyone not doing it simply decided not to.

      You mean, that wasn't obvious before?

      • by mfh (56)

        It remains obvious, however now there is no excuse!

        • by ldconfig (1339877)
          Isn't our browsing history unique content? Its just as creative as a rap song. I think our history should be protected under the DMCA just like music and if the rich (and law enforcement) want to collect it then they should have to ask permission and pay us a cut of the profit. My 4 cents.
          • by mfh (56)

            And we should be able to conscript MPAA/RIAA to do our dirty work for us also. Wouldn't it be funny to watch RIAA sue Microsoft and Google for $200000 per browser history record?

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Friday September 09, 2011 @08:19AM (#37350124)

    Here [mozilla.org] is Mozilla's page on it. It appears that it just sends a "don't track me, pls" HTTP header if you enable it.

    If only a handful of people use it, I can imagine that larger and more-responsible advertisers might interpret that as an opt-out. I can't imagine them agreeing if it gets more pervasive, though. Many currently have opt-out methods, but they're deliberately a bit harder to use and less automatic. I would imagine that at the least, they'll try to set up some requirement for additional confirmation of the opt-out.

    And of course many advertisers will just ignore it: voluntary implementation of opt-out functionality will never catch the worst offenders.

    • by Johann Lau (1040920) on Friday September 09, 2011 @08:25AM (#37350180) Homepage Journal

      I'm not confused at all about this: This is a joke. It gives a false sense of having accomplished something, which arguable makes everything worse.

      In Germany, it's illegal to track personally identifiable info about your visitors you don't ABSOLUTELY need, much less keep it around (it can be argued you need to keep e.g. IP addresses it for a few days in case to be able to block attackers etc., but there isn't a lot of grey area). Sure, that still needs to be enforced, but at least that actually means something. Kinda like making rape illegal, instead of printing "please don't rape me" t-shirts. Geez.

      • by maxume (22995)

        It makes it an awful lot harder for shills to argue that an opt out system would be too complicated or impossible.

        (in re your analogy, "No means No" and so forth were real actual outreach programs...)

        • But that's the point, it shouldn't matter if opting out is too complicated! If it's to complicated for these clowns, they should stop tracking altogether, or go to jail otherwise. Maybe they can write a book in jail about how complicated it all is, or try to rust the bars with their salty tears. Fuck these people, don't give them an inch. Somehow they got the idea that putting on a suit and making a bit of dirty money makes them human, and that idea needs to be stopped before it does further damage. You don

          • by maxume (22995)

            Sure sure, never mind the reality where they have more and better lobbyists than you do and the law is currently on their side.

    • by eli867 (300724)

      It's really not that hard. First hit on googling "opt out ads" is http://www.networkadvertising.org/managing/opt_out.asp [networkadvertising.org]

    • I got this one!

      Let's make a Premium list of everyone who sends "Don't Track Me Please" headers! They are advanced users ages 21-59!

  • Not Likely... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by realsilly (186931) on Friday September 09, 2011 @08:19AM (#37350128)

    I would suspect that many advertisers will ignore the document because their cash cow is advertising. They want to be invasive. They want me the average consumer to see what they have to offer. What incentive is there for them to lose potential advertising revenue?

    On a personal level I feel advertising agencies have been allow too many liberties and have invaded the lives of consumers way too much. I can't stand them. I'd like to see advertisements go away. But they won't, and even telling them "Don't Want" is not going to work. Look how well that worked for the Do Not Call registry. I still receive calls and every time I say...."I'm on the do not call list...." I don't even get the courtesy from them to remove my number they hang up faster than I can request to be removed from their list. This gives them the lame excuse "the customer did not ask to be removed....". They ignore the Do Not Call list.

    Based on the above scenario, what makes me believe that an Ad company would follow the Do Not Track requests?

    • by Lennie (16154)

      A number of countries have laws, so if it got known that a company is ignoring the Do Not Track, they will get fined.

      A leak to wikileaks ? Or something, I don't know.

    • by Merk42 (1906718)

      I'd like to see advertisements go away.

      Advertising as a whole is different than targeted advertising, which is what this Do Not Track stuff refers to. Take away advertising as a whole and prepare for a lot more websites to be behind a paywall.

    • by Inda (580031)
      "What incentive is there for them?"

      Ad Block if they don't.

      Telling all my friends, if they continue to ignore.

      Send all my friends the Ad Block install file, if...
    • by Rossman (593924)

      If you don't want to see ads, just block them. It's trivial to do, either via your hosts file or using a browser add-on/plugin.

      If you don't believe the Do Not Track requests will be honoured than you certainly have options available to you!

    • by bonch (38532)

      I would suspect that many advertisers will ignore the document because their cash cow is advertising. They want to be invasive.

      Google, for example [wired.com], who is the only major browser vendor not to pledge support for implementing DNT. Gee, I wonder why.

  • Right. You're asking marketers to give up what is essentially gold to them?

    This is going to be about as successful as setting a flag on en e-mail address and expecting spammers to not spam it.

  • What I think a lot of people are missing is that these are the necessary first steps in the process of stopping tracking:

    1. Provide technical infrastructure for users to express their prefs.
    2. Provide advertisers the tools to see those prefs, how to handle them, etc.
    3. A few ethical advertisers implement those tools and demonstrate that it's feasible.
    4. Make it illegal to ignore the prefs.
    5. FTC comes down like a ton of bricks on anybody who tracks people who opted out.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      What I think a lot of people are missing is that these are the necessary first steps in the process of stopping tracking:

      1. Provide technical infrastructure for users to express their prefs.
      2. Provide advertisers the tools to see those prefs, how to handle them, etc.
      3. A few ethical advertisers implement those tools and demonstrate that it's feasible.
      4. Make it illegal to ignore the prefs.
      5. FTC comes down like a ton of bricks on anybody who tracks people who opted out.

      Given the current political climate, a

    • by Pokermike (896718)
      More like:

      1. Provide technical infrastructure for users to express their prefs.
      2. Provide advertisers the tools to see those prefs, how to handle them, etc.
      3. A few ethical advertisers implement those tools and demonstrate that it's feasible.
      4. Make it illegal to ignore the prefs.

      5. FTC grants waivers to ISPs and others (e.g. Google/Bing) under pressure from lobbyists and law enforcement under "protect the children" acts
      6. Profit: ISPs and waived entities sell their legally obtained tracking data

    • by hamsjael (997085)
      Exactly!! this is the only way to give government an avenue to regulate this. All us ./'rs proberbly know about "add block plus", "better privacy" "ghostery" and so on. Thats fine, but if user protection shall be based in any kind of legality it has to go the way of the law. The initiative from mozilla is essentially an API for the law to protect the people from the vultures yours is the first sensible comment on this story, strange you only got "2"
  • by Pokermike (896718) on Friday September 09, 2011 @08:42AM (#37350298) Homepage
    Wow, a voluntary do not track program -- that'll catch on. The only reason the Do Not Call List worked out ok was because there were penalties for not using it and even then there was abuse [cbsnews.com] and numerous work arounds and loopholes.
  • Sure its voluntary, but its a first step. Now there is no real excuse for tracking people except wanting to.

    TFA says that there are more users who turned on 'do not track' than are using adblock, which means there are lots of people who don't want to be tracked. What the next step will be depends, since we now know that tracking them isn't an 'accident because I was unable to'.

    Maybe an addon will create a blacklist so you know what to avoid, maybe some country will make it illegal to track people who don't

  • I have a good name for this addition to the http header. Let's call it the "Pretty please addition" , or the "Puwwleeeeeeeeeeeeeese extension".

    Advertisers have been shown to not obey something as basic as a user's request to delete cookies. What makes you think any advertiser in the world is going to obey this without legislation followed by enforcement?

    • by Haedrian (1676506)

      I'd say that'll be the next step. The EU already tried something like that in the past - and now there's no excuse that its "Too difficult to do" or "Users don't want it".

  • Install 2 add-ons. No Script and Ad Block Plus. No Script really opened my eyes to how much crap is tied to some web pages and also how google and facebook know every move I make.
    • by Zapotek (1032314)
      Add Ghostery too:

      Ghostery sees the invisible web - tags, web bugs, pixels and beacons. Ghostery tracks the trackers and gives you a roll-call of the ad networks, behavioral data providers, web publishers, and other companies interested in your activity.

      After showing you who's tracking you, Ghostery also gives you a chance to learn more about each company it identifies. How they describe themselves, a link to their privacy policies, and a sampling of pages where we've found them are just a click away.

      Ghostery allows you to block scripts from companies that you don't trust, delete local shared objects, and even block images and iframes. Ghostery puts your web privacy back in your hands.

  • Honestly everyone knows that advertisers won't listen to these requests, but it does lay a framework for law to require corporations to listen to these request. Before this was in place a corporation could simply say, "I didn't know he wanted to be tracked"
  • a guide on how foxes should properly care for henhouses.
  • ... I need to pick up a "please do not rob me" sign on my way home today.

  • Apparently Mozilla has also issued a "Do Not Print" guide for Firefox. I had to use Chrome to print some web pages recently. Firefox=blank, Chrome=get everything. ???
  • by grikdog (697841)

    What's wrong with issuing a browser that doesn't track in the first place? Then users could "Opt In" by downloading the pink version instead of the friendly orange version?

    "Guidelines" are CYA, not serious concern about user privacy.

  • The company I work for does marketing of sorts. We try to pretend we don't, but thats really what it is.

    We do track users, but not in any way that is passed along to our customers as personally identifiable. We track aggregates like 'X number of people say it, Y number of people clicked on it, Z number of people bought it'. I'm probably the only person currently that could even type sale Z to event X within our system, their is no internal code to do so. Even then, the only way I could tie it back to an

  • The browser maker wants to put a stop to behavioral targeting and pervasive tracking on the Web.

    I want to be a fairy princess, and to live in a castle on the moon!

    Does Mozilla have any idea how much money this stuff is worth? Let me put it into perspective: I did a two month test run of some hard-core personalization code on a tiny little backwater advertising system. It ran on one tiny little out-of-the-way placement of that tiny little backwater advertising system. The projected annual change in profit fo

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