Feeds

'Do Not Track' standard edges towards daylight

First draft of spybuster deal released by W3C

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

An internet standard on online privacy is expected to be published by the middle of next year. In the meantime, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has released a first draft of the so-called "Do Not Track" (DNT) mechanism, with input from the major browser makers.

Google, Mozilla, Apple and Microsoft have been debating with privacy groups and government regulators over what standard should be adopted.

But getting companies to find a consensus on what mechanism should be introduced that allows browser makers, social networks and other online outfits to profit from advertising while satisfying privacy watchdogs has proved, to say the least, problematic.

Add to that the fact that the three biggest browser players on the market today - Mozilla, Microsoft and Google - have all offered their own take on Do Not Track.

As The Register has reported previously, Mozilla added a DNT http header to Firefox, thereby giving surfers control of whether or not they want to be tracked by advertisers online.

Google, meanwhile, released a Chrome extension that lets a user opt-out of tracking cookies from multiple ad networks, including the web's top 15.

Then there's Microsoft's approach. It brought out a method dubbed Tracking Protection Lists, that relies on predefined lists of domains known to track a web surfer's behavior via advertising technologies.

Such lists are maintained by various third-party companies, and the user is free to choose from among them.

That method was already submitted to the W3C by Redmond in late 2010, following the release of its browser Internet Explorer 9. In February, the software vendor then rather sneakily added a submission of Mozilla's Do Not Track browser header to its Tracking Protection proposal to the W3C.

In September, the standards-setting group confirmed that Microsoft and Mozilla's proposals would provide the basis for the group's work.

Now, a first draft compliance specification has been published, which was edited by Google policy wonk Heather West, fellow Googler Sean Harvey and two members of the Center of Democracy and Technology.

Clearly, at this stage all the obvious parties are mucking in. But it's early days, and ultimately the browser industry is moving towards self-regulation that appeases privacy watchdogs and keeps ad revenues ticking over. The likely outcome, therefore, is that netizens will need to pro-actively switch the Do Not Track button on. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Object storage bods Exablox: RAID is dead, baby. RAID is dead
Bring your own disks to its object appliances
Nimble's latest mutants GORGE themselves on unlucky forerunners
Crossing Sandy Bridges without stopping for breath
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.