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24 Feb 12 Chrome to support Do Not Track privacy feature


Google has agreed to build support for Do Not Track into Chrome so its Web browser can tell Web sites when people don’t want advertisers scrutinizing their behavior.

The Do Not Track technology modifies communications between browsers and servers so people can signal that they don’t want their browsing behavior to become the basis for ad targeting.

Mozilla developed Do Not Track and built it into its Firefox Web browser. Microsoft followed suit not long after with Internet Explorer, Apple has enabled it as an option for developers in Safari 5.1, and Opera is building it into the forthcoming Opera 12.

Now Google’s getting on board, too, with Chrome.

“We plan to implement Do Not Track across our browser and advertising systems by the end of the year,” a Google representative said today in a statement.

Why not earlier? Do Not Track wasn’t mature enough an idea for Google, apparently: We have always thought the idea of DNT was interesting, but there didn’t seem to be a wide consensus on what “tracking” really means. We didn’t feel it was responsible to allow users to send a header in Chrome that largely had no effect and no agreed-upon meaning. Going forward, the scope is now clear, and we know that the header will be respected by the industry.

Do Not Track has been somewhat academic because it requires cooperation from Web sites to respect the feature. But Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL, and other Internet powers just pledged to support Do Not Track on their sites, making the feature much more important.

“We’re pleased to join a broad industry agreement to respect the ‘Do Not Track’ header in a consistent and meaningful way that offers users choice and clearly explained browser controls,” Susan Wojcicki, Google’s senior vice president of advertising, said in a statement.

The Do Not Track news is emerging in conjunction with the U.S. president Barack Obama administration’s proposed Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights being unveiled later today.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the Chrome support for Do Not Track. The Journal also said Apple will make Do Not Track a standard feature in the Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion operating system due to arrive this summer.

For the impatient, there’s also the Do Not Track Plus browser extension that works with Chrome, IE, Firefox, and Safari. It will support Opera at a later date.

Article source: http://www.zdnetasia.com/chrome-to-support-do-not-track-privacy-feature-62303987.htm

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23 Feb 12 Chrome to support Do Not Track privacy feature


Google found Do Not Track “interesting” but too vague, but now says the technology for blocking behavioral ad targeting is mature enough to use.

Google Chrome logo

Google has agreed to build support for Do Not Track into Chrome so its Web browser can tell
Web sites when users don’t want advertisers scrutinizing their behavior.

The Do Not Track technology modifies communications between browsers and servers so people can signal that they don’t want their browsing behavior to become the basis for ad targeting.

Mozilla developed Do Not Track and built it into its
Firefox Web browser. Microsoft followed suit not long after with Internet Explorer, and Apple has enabled it as an option for developers in
Safari 5.1.

Now Google’s getting on board, too, with Chrome.

“We plan to implement Do Not Track across our browser and advertising systems by the end of the year,” a Google representative said in a statement.

Why not earlier? Do Not Track wasn’t mature enough an idea for Google, apparently:

We have always thought the idea of DNT was interesting, but there didn’t seem to be a wide consensus on what “tracking” really means. We didn’t feel it was responsible to allow users to send a header in Chrome that largely had no effect and no agreed-upon meaning. Going forward, the scope is now clear, and we know that the header will be respected by the industry.

Do Not Track has been somewhat academic because it requires cooperation from Web sites to respect the feature. But Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL, and other Internet powers just pledged to support Do Not Track on their Web sites, making the feature much more important.

“We’re pleased to join a broad industry agreement to respect the ‘Do Not Track’ header in a consistent and meaningful way that offers users choice and clearly explained browser controls,” said Susan Wojcicki, Google’s senior vice president of advertising, in a statement.

The Do Not Track news is emerging in conjunction with the Obama administration’s proposed Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights being unveiled later today.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the Chrome support for Do Not Track. It also said that Apple will make Do Not Track a standard feature in its forthcoming Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion operating system due to arrive this summer, the Journal also reported.

For the impatient, there’s also the Do Not Track Plus browser extension that works with Chrome, IE, Firefox, and Safari, and that will also support Opera later.

Mozillas explanation of the Do Not Track technique for letting people opt out of behaviorally targeted advertising.

Mozilla’s explanation of the Do Not Track technique for letting people opt out of behaviorally targeted advertising.

(Credit:
Mozilla)

Article source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-57383362-264/chrome-to-support-do-not-track-privacy-feature/?part=rss&subj=software&tag=title

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14 Feb 12 Firefox Roadmap for 2012 Calls for Chrome Catch-up and Better Privacy Tools


If you’re running the Aurora builds, you should be able to see the new tab page now. It’s basically a take on the Speed Dial concept that was initially expressed in Opera 9.2, and has analogs in Google Chrome and Safari. It doesn’t allow you to create buttons manually, they’re pulled from the most frequently visited pages. You can zap pages that you don’t want displayed, or hide the page alttogether.

The Mozilla folks are also planning to add a Chrome migration tool, so they can move users from the Google browser to Firefox. Firefox is also targeting inline PDF view and in-browser translation for the second half of the year.

Did somebody say Apps? Firefox could also have a Web App integration in place by the release of Firefox 13. (That’s the targeted release, but the feature page is not fully spec’ed out yet.) Mozilla is aiming for an app store launcher in the Home Tab that would make it easy to see new Web apps on offer.

User Privacy and “Log into Firefox”

The second half of the Mozilla roadmap is where it really gets interesting, at least for folks concerned about privacy, security and control of their data. While Mozilla has been championing the Do Not Track (DNT) stuff, I’m less than convinced that DNT is a good answer to privacy concerns given that it’s voluntary for sites to implement.

new-tab-2.png

One of the ideas that’s on the roadmap, but without an accompanying feature page, is tracking map and 3rd party cookie management. According to the roadmap, this would let users “visualize how they are tracked as they move around the web and be empowered to easily block that tracking.” I’d really like to see this one implemented, sooner rather than later.

Users could also be seeing a site-based permissions manager. The roadmap says “users manage their permissions on a per-feature basis: cookies, passwords, history, etc. This is confusing. A site-based permission manager will empower people to edit all of the permissions associated with any particular site.”

For the record, I’m not sure that users will find managing permissions on a site-by-site basis less confusing than doing so on a per-feature basis. However, it’s not entirely clear what Mozilla has in mind here because the site-based permissions manager feature is also without a feature page.

Firefox is also concerned about search hijacking. Basically this is a set of techniques that are “used to circumvent browser search defaults to funnel search revenues to third parties.” Obviously, this is a big deal for Firefox not only because it undermines user choice, but also because much of Mozilla’s revenue comes from its search deal with Google.

Another feature slated for later in the year is the sign in to Firefox, which would provide the ability to sign into Firefox with BrowserID credentials (and create a BrowserID account if the user doesn’t have one). That would open up the identity features that Mozilla is targeting with Sync and BrowserID.

Performance, Performance, Performance

According to the 2012 roadmap, Mozilla is planning on paying a lot of attention to performance. According to the strategy section, “In 2012 strengthened and dedicated teams will wipe out any and all Firefox responsiveness issues users face and guarantee the rock solid stability at low memory costs that developers demand for their apps.” This includes performance improvements for tabs, start-up improvements and work to improve Firefox’s page caching.

Firefox is also going to be introducing a new Just-in-Time (JIT) compiler for JavaScript called IonMonkey.

Concerned that add-ons are harming performance? There’s a proposal for a new policy about add-on performance and tools to detect add-ons that hamper performance.

A Bright 2012

If the Mozilla team can hit most of the features on the roadmap for 2012, they might be able to reverse the trend of losing users to Google Chrome. I’d really love to see the tracking map and third party cookie management in Firefox. That has a lot more potential than the DNT efforts.

What do you think of the roadmap for 2012? If you’re a Firefox user now, does this look like a good direction for Firefox? If you’re not, do you think you’d be likely to switch?

Article source: http://www.readwriteweb.com/hack/2012/02/firefox-roadmap-for-2012-calls.php

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