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Yahoo! finally! adds! Do! Not! Track! tool!

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Yahoo! is to begin slotting in support for a Do Not Track header across its entire online estate just a few months after its erstwhile privacy wonk quit the firm in favour of a job at Google.

Anne Toth, who is now working on the Chocolate Factory's Google+, had opposed DNT.

Yahoo! said the tool, which will also be implemented on its Right Media and Interclick properties, will allow users "to express their ad targeting preferences" to the Purple Palace.

But the company has been very slow to provide such support for DNT. When Toth was at the helm of Yahoo!'s privacy team she had this to say (courtesy of Time Techland) about the technology:

Right now, when a consumer puts Do Not Track in the header, we don’t know what they mean. Privacy is not a one size fits all thing. Is analytics included in that? Is first-party customisation included in that? I think it’s fair for Google to say it’s going to hang out until it figures out what it means first. If we all do privacy in radically different way, we’re going to confuse consumers.

Google is yet to implement DNT, despite many of its rivals having already adopted the tool. It's recently made noises suggesting that some form of the tech will be built into its Chrome browser by the end of 2012.

It's notable that Toth's exit has apparently paved the way for Yahoo! to finally support DNT.

The struggling internet outfit sees things differently and described itself as a company that has "leadership in privacy innovation while continuing to create the free online service consumers demand". And all that is thanks to those lovely advertising people, it added.

But the DNT move also comes after the US Feds gave online players a nudge earlier this week, when the FTC issued its final report on the "best practices" companies should put in place regarding the thirsty slurping of consumer data.

Lawmakers on that side of the Atlantic have warned that regulation could follow if the online ad giants don't sort themselves out.

There have been tussles about how the DNT standard should be developed, and recently Microsoft has been touting a different technology - dubbed Tracking Selection Lists - that has led to a "task force" being assembled to work on that specification. ®

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