Mozilla Makes DNT More Visible in Firefox 5 Beta


ADOTAS – Last week, Mozilla’s Global Privacy and Public Policy Leader Alex Fowler told attendees of the 2011 Privacy Identity Innovation conference that between 1% and 2% of users have turned on the “do not track” feature added to the Firefox 4 browser.

Well, that must mean the majority of Firefox users don’t mind housing and managing cookies collecting browsing data used for targeted advertising. Either that or behavioral targeting self-regulation efforts have calmed stalking fears and browsers are confident in using industry opt-out tools. No legislation necessary — Senators Kerry and McCain can go take naps (they really look like they need them.)

No, no, silly — obviously such a low number means that awareness of the DNT capabilities in Firefox is too low. And granted, turning on DNT in the browser is a bit of an obstacle course, forcing users to hop through all kinds of submenus to get to the controls.

But Fowler and co. have recognized this issue, and in Firefox 5 Beta, to be released this week, DNT is moving from under the Advanced menu to the top spot on the Privacy panel.

Obviously Firefox users will now turn on DNT en masse, and kill the Internet display advertising industry. Which will of course kill the Internet media industry and journalism in general. All that will survive DNT is porn — in that way, it’s kind of like cockroaches after a nuclear holocaust.

On the self-reg side, Evidon, which powers the OBA self-regulatory program and is one of several companies that dole out Forward I icons, noted at the same conference that only 10% of ads employing behavioral targeting featured the not-yet-infamous blue triangle. CEO Scott Meyer said he expected icon inclusion to increase to 50% in next six to 12 months.

OBA practitioners better hope they do or else Kerry and McCain are going to get even more cranky. Is that humanly possible?


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