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2011-02-09

Firefox lets you ask advertisers not to track you

Firefox has a new setting, where you send an additional header field that asks advertisers not to track you. I like the idea, but it doesn’t yet make complete sense:
  • Who would ever choose to be tracked? If something sounds scary, people don’t want it, despite having no idea what is actually going on. In this case, the fear is well founded, but there are also cases of knee-jerk reactions which lead to less useful products.
  • Thus: Shouldn’t we send the header when we want to be tracked, instead? That is, shouldn’t this setting be opt-in instead of opt-out? That would also save traffic.
  • Some advertisers seem inclined to support the proposal, but why should some of the seedier ones adhere to this header? We need a way to find out which advertisers ignore the header and then take appropriate measures: A public “list of shame”, an option to block said advertisers, etc.
  • We need all parties to work together on this one, so there needs to be a platform where advertisers can make their case in favor of letting yourself be tracked.
  • You might think that advertising is only negative, but it also finances free web content.

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