LIVE BLOG: Do Not Track, The Browser Solution

Wed, Dec 1, 2010 at 9:29 am

    LIVE BLOG: Do Not Track, The Browser Solution

    In the first session of CW conference on online consumer protection, panelist Chris Soghoian, a privacy technologist, identified one key to the success of “Do Not Track” legislation: a browser-based solution.

    “Remember almost all browsers are supported by ad networks,” Soghoian reminded the audience at the National Press Club. “Internet Explorer was created by Microsoft which has an ad network. Chrome was created by Google which has an ad network. Firefox comes from Mozilla which is funded by Google.”

    With browsers designed by default to track user behavior for the benefit of ad networks, Soghoian asserted consumer protection depends on mandating browsers include a simple opt-out checkbox.

    Soghoian noted that “do not track” plug-ins are available at, including one that he designed called TACO But he admitted such plug-ins must be constantly updated.

    “A much better approach would be for a universal opt-out header,’ he said. “The user could simply check a box with a single preference,” he said. “That would then be communicated to all web sites that they visit.“

    Soghoain said he does not believe that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) does not currently have legal authority to mandate a browser opt-out check box.

    “We need Congressional action,” he said.

    Until then, Firefox users who don’t want to be tracked can download this Universal Behaviorial Opt-Out plug-in.


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