Mozilla and Google Introduce New Browser Privacy Features


In an announcement made last Monday, both Mozilla and Google have said that they plan to introduce new browser privacy features which will allow users to decide how their browsing information is used by advertising companies.

The move was prompted by a recent FCC recommendation that makes it mandatory for all browsers to have a do-not-track option available to users. The recommendation is part of the new Net neutrality rules adopted by the FCC last month. Even Microsoft has agreed to comply with the directive and has announced that the next version of its Internet Explorer browser will have the required option.

An extension aptly named “Keep My Opt-Outs” is now available for Google’s Chrome browser. This extension gives Chrome users the freedom of staying away from online behavioral advertising without losing out on browser performance. Like most other Google services, this extension is open source and allows for third-party modifications.

On the other hand, Mozilla has announced that it is currently developing a “Do Not Track” HTTP header which will give all Firefox users the ability to choose the kind of advertising they wish to see. According to Mozilla’s Security and Privacy Engineer Sid Stamm, the “Do Not Track” header will transmit a message intimating advertising sites in case a user chooses to opt out of online behavioral advertising.

Though Mozilla has decided to follow the FCC recommendation, there is no clarity on when this feature will actually be available on Mozilla’s Firefox browser. This was confirmed in an e-mail sent by Mozilla spokesperson Melissa Shapiro. The “Do Not Track” header may make a debut on Mozilla’s upcoming Firefox 4 browser though nothing has been finalized as of now. Mozilla’s Firefox 4 is currently in the Beta testing phase and will be released in the near future.

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