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25 Feb 12 Google Chrome to Support ‘Do Not Track’ Privacy Policy

(NASDAQ:GOOG) Feb. 23 said it is embracing the “Do Not Track” policy
to streamline consumer privacy on the Web, and plans to support the initiative
in its popular Chrome Web browser by the end of the year.

by the White House, Federal Trade Commission and the Digital Advertising
, Do Not Track will allow Internet users to add a Do Not
Track header from browsers such as Chrome, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) Safari, Mozilla
Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer. This will tell Websites not to track
them across the Web.

Mozilla was
the first to step up and embrace Do Not Track when it was unveiled last year,
with Microsoft following with Internet Explorer 9 shortly thereafter. Safari
has supported Do Not Track since launching version 5.1 last July.

Google, the
online ad market leader that stands to lose the money from not being able to
track users and target them with online ads, relented this week.

While Google
hasn’t specified its implementation of Do Not Track, it is believed
the company will add a checkbox to trigger the tool in its Chrome user settings.

Google’s adoption of Do Not Track doesn’t preclude cookies, small
computer files online ad providers use to track users’ travels around the Web,
from existing in Chrome.

What it means
is that cookies will not be used to build targeted ads, or those tailored to
users based on users’ past surfing and other online behavior. Do Not Track
supporters may not use that cookie-tracking
data to divine information about users’ employment, credit, health treatment or
insurance eligibility, or for sensitive data about children.

However, the
more “personal” users want their experience with Chrome or other
browsers to be, the more info can be tracked about those users, according to
Susan Wojcicki, senior vice president of advertising for Google.

example, if users have requested personalization (such as by signing up for
particular services) or visit Websites that use “first-party” cookies
to personalize the overall experience (for example, a news Website recommending
articles to its readers, or a video site remembering your volume preferences),
then browsers will not break that experience,” Wojcicki
wrote in a blog post

In other
words, users will still be tracked and will see ads targeted to their
behavioral tastes online. Wojcicki was careful to note that Google believes
tailoring users’ Web experience with more relevant, interest-based ads is a
“good thing.”

Wojcicki also
said Google looked forward to Do Not Track’s implementation as a way to combat
inconsistency in Web browsers’ privacy controls. For example, Safari prevents
the use of cookies, something Google recently caught flak for by circumventing
this privacy policy to track the Web activities of users of iOS devices and

agreement will not solve all the privacy issues users face on the Web
today,” Wojcicki added. “However, it represents a meaningful step
forward in privacy controls for users. We look forward to making this happen.

So does the Federal
Trade Commission, which is tasked with enforcing Do Not Track and punishing

great to see that companies are stepping up to our challenge to protect privacy
so consumers have greater choice and control over how they are tracked
online,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. “More needs to be done, but
the work they have done so far is very encouraging.”

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