With the aim of providing consumer privacy and making web browsing a fun experience, the U.S Federal Government has urged all the major web browsers, including Mozilla Firefox browser, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Apple with its Mountain Lion operating system to include the button “Do Not Track”, so that the users can surf the Internet without their browsing habits being tracked, which means that the consumers can have more control over their personal data online.
In response to growing concern of the consumers about how Internet giants like, Google, Facebook and Twitter collect and trade in vast amounts of detailed information about their online activities and real-life identities; the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) of U.S has called on to pass broad privacy legislation that would allow consumers to see how their online data is collected, used sold, and allow consumers the ability to stop such practices.
The “Do Not Track” cyber security bill allows customers to opt out of tracking by websites they do not visit, including analytics services, advertising networks, and social platforms. Though some of these third parties offer tracking opt out options, but they are neither user-friendly nor comprehensive. On the other hand,” Do Not Track “provides its users with a single, simple and persistent preference with a HTTP header to opt out of third-party web tracking.
The “Do Not Track” feature offered by Mozilla Firefox lets the users to express a preference of not tracking their browsing history by any website. When the feature is enabled, Firefox lets the advertising networks and other third party websites and applications know that the consumer would like to opt-out of tracking for purposes like behavioral advertising. This is done by transmitting the “Do Not Track” HTTP header every time your data is requested from the Web.
However, with the adoption of this proposed policy, the user might encounter with some inconveniences in enjoying certain customized services that the browsers offer. For instance, one might need to type his/ her zip code each time one wants to view a particular piece of news over the internet, rather than seeing it automatically displayed. Regulation is necessary to verify and enforce compliance with a user’s choice to opt out of tracking.
Many Internet users don’t even realize that online data collection is taking place. In most cases, companies use invisible methods to collect this data. Have you ever wondered how the advertisements you see on the Web seem to be geared specifically towards you? It’s because information has already been gathered about you and your Internet habits. Unfortunately, many companies do not even disclose their processes for data collection.