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Do-Not-Track Comes to Mobile – Thanks to Mozilla!

Posted by James Lamberti on June 28th, 2012 at 2:53 pm

As government entities, privacy advocates, self-regulatory bodies and the online advertising community continue efforts to come to a compromise on the standardization of the Do-Not-Track (DNT) technical specifications and policies, one company continues to lead the way on this important innovation in consumer privacy: Mozilla.

Earlier this week, Mozilla – the creators of popular web browser FireFox, introduced their newest version of FireFox for Android mobile browser to the world. In addition to introducing  faster browsing and synchronization functionalities the Mozilla team has launched a full suite of safety features to help protect users privacy and security while surfing on the mobile web. The most exciting of these privacy features is Do-Not-Track (DNT) – a mobile version of the friendliest controls for consumer privacy in existence today and a feature that was introduced to the online community by Mozilla in 2009 and has been a feature of their desktop browser for a few years now.

Mozilla’s continued focus and innovative development around the consumer experience, not only in terms of features and functionality, but also for consumer privacy, has propelled the DNT concept to gain recognition and support from the FTC and the EU Commission as well as from all major desktop browsers (IE, FireFox, Opera and Safari have integrated DNT support – Chrome is expected to include by end of 2012 – but offers multiple browser plug-ins to extend this functionality to their consumers).  Until now, the DNT offering to consumers has been limited to browsers on desktop/laptop computers, essentially leaving the mobile community DNT-free even though mobile browser and application usage has been increasing substantially year over year. Will this move by Mozilla help usher in the same acknowledgement and implementation of DNT by mobile browsers that was seen post their introduction of this feature to the desktop world?  One can certainly hope!

Do-Not-Track is an ideal privacy solution, it is simple and IMHO, if my parents (who are not too computer savvy) can protect their privacy while on the internet with one simple click of a button, then what more could we as an industry ask for?  While this is important for standard internet use, this feature is incredibly vital for the mobile web as our phones continue to become an extension of ourselves – from our photos, calendar, work/personal email, banking, messages, Facebook, videos and soon our wallets.  The mobile web doesn’t stay at work or at home – it is with us at all times and where there is great value to personalization and convenience, there needs to be respect for people who need to cut the proverbial tracking chord for whatever reason they choose.

I personally, and the whole AdTruth team as well, applaud Mozilla for pushing DNT forward as the industry as a whole sorts out the details of how to make this standard work effectively for all parties. Unfortunately, we should not wait any longer – DNT is going to happen and needs to happen – and should not be used for leverage or for pandering or as a weapon against competitors or even to limit innovation…this solution was a result of innovative thinking and development and designed to allow consumers to feel they are respected and protected – which should be the goal of us all – not matter what government agency, advocacy group, ad company, regulatory body, tracking technology…we need to follow Mozilla’s lead and make DNT available to all consumers no matter how they access the web.

Thank you again Mozilla for leading the way!

P.S. This one is for you Sid.

3 Responses to “Do-Not-Track Comes to Mobile – Thanks to Mozilla!”

  1. James,

    Mozilla is actually second to deliver DNT to Mobile. We've had two mobile browsers (called Choice) for over a year now with DNT capability for both Android and iPhone. And we have solutions for other mobile OS's that also add DNT capability.

    DNT is an important first step, but there's room for more. Our Choice browsers significantly extend upon the DNT approach and offer consumers much higher levels of Privacy and Choice.

    Peter
    3PMobile

  2. James,

    RE: a feature that was introduced to the online community by Mozilla in 2009 and has been a feature of their desktop browser for a few years now.

    It was actually a browser plugin that was available in 2009. Mozilla started adding "DNT" capability with FF 4.0 and even to this date and FF 13 it only supports the DNT:1 setting not the other 0 and unset options.

    Our Choice solution predates all other versions as we had a solution available in 2006 and it was patented in 2007.

    Cheers,

    Peter
    3PMobile.

  3. Delpha says:

    How interesting that a site that publishes an article about "do not track" does not respect Mozilla's "do not track" setting!

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