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Google OS X Privacy Safari Apple Your Rights Online

Apple Adding "Do-Not-Track" To Safari 126

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the honor-system-will-work-fine dept.
bonch writes "The latest developer preview of OS X Lion includes a 'do not track' privacy feature in Safari, the latest browser to do so following Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer. The feature complies with a privacy system backed by the FTC that allows users to declare that they do not wish to be tracked by online advertisers. This leaves Google Chrome as the last prominent browser not to support the feature. As an online advertiser themselves, Google states that they 'will continue to be involved closely' with industry discussions about compliance with the do-not-track system."
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Apple Adding "Do-Not-Track" To Safari

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  • by bigjocker (113512) * on Thursday April 14, 2011 @07:54AM (#35816692) Homepage

    Microsoft added a 'Do Not Crack' plea button to Internet Explorer ... hackers were unavailable for comments on whether this new button will convince them of leaving the browser alone

  • by Anonymous Coward

    There is an excellent 3rd party extension for Chrome called "ChromeBlock" that opts you out of ad tracking networks. I use this combined with one called "Disconnect" that dispersonalizes searches and blocks 3rd party sites from tracking you.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 14, 2011 @08:01AM (#35816750)

    Do any of these "Do Not Track" buttons in browsers actually do anything useful, like disable third-party cookies, or does it just amount to an altogether useless "pretty please!" plea to the oh-so-ethical tracking/advertising industry? If the latter, then aren't these fancy "Do Not Track" buttons actually WORSE than nothing since they'll give ignorant users a completely phoney sense of security.

    • by DMiax (915735)
      You are right that it is a plea. However if it becomes prominent this can be used as a legal way of opting out from being tracked. advertisers will have no excuse to track people against their will. They won't be able to setup their own incredibly hard opt-out system that no one ever uses. It is a way to close a loophole of some laws.
      • I'm pondering ways to designate my unique set of clicks to be a copyrighted work. Then we can let those beautiful new CopyTerror laws in a tasty case of the Law of Unexpected Consequences.

        Actually, I'd really like to see a fight between the **aa and the web tracking industries. Anyone know how much $ value the "4th parties" (not Google) together combine into vs Big Media?

    • by dzfoo (772245)

      IE 9 and Safari both support disabling third-party cookies. Safari does it by default; I'm not sure about IE 9.

      The "Do Not Track" option mentioned in the article is an additional header that depends on advertisers honouring it. However, if supported, this mechanism works as a global "opt out" system, where the user does not have to take any action per site.

      Google, on the other hand, is trying to promote a mechanism that collects all "Opt-Out" cookies and persists them in a sort of "super cookie." In esse

    • by kvothe (2013374)
      I think there have been previous articles on this, but as I recall, it basically just adds a "pretty please don't track me" line to page requests sent by the browser. Individual websites can then decide to actually pay attention to the line if they want. Also, as it is an advanced feature in Firefox that is disabled by default, you could argue that newbies probably wouldn't even know to turn it on. Granted, that's sort of a security through obscurity argument, so ymmv.
    • Your right, why should Google implement such a feature in Chrome when they know they are just going to ignore it ? If only there were some way they could convince themselves.

    • They could start by disabling the HTTP Referrer header.

      I think most people are completely unaware that they are being tracked by it.

    • by ChatHuant (801522)

      Do any of these "Do Not Track" buttons in browsers actually do anything useful, like disable third-party cookies

      If I understand correctly, the only one that does the feature right [nwsource.com] is IE (see also here [betanews.com]). IE allows blacklisting of tracker sites; the lists can be built and distributed by external groups, like consumer organizations. To access the sites in the list, you have to type its address in the address box explicitly, otherwise IE9 will just not go to any of the tracking sites at all. All other browsers still follow links to tracking sites, but ask them nicely to please please not track them. With IE9 the trackers

  • by pla (258480) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @08:05AM (#35816790) Journal
    Y'know, while it pleases me to see all the major browsers implementing this, and even having some shred of FTC support, it still doesn't amount to a kernel of corn in a mountain of turd for one simple reason...

    Namely, the real abusers of our privacy don't give a damn about what we want. And don't think that only includes the likes of Ralsky - Every single company that thinks they can get away with harvesting your data by using a "third party affiliate" or offshore host, will do whatever they can get away with.

    We have one, and only one, means of maintaining our privacy online - Lie, lie, lie, lie, lie. Filter your response headers, never use your real name, address, phone number, or even your real dog's name as the answer to a site's security questions.
    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Every single company that thinks they can get away with harvesting your data by using a "third party affiliate" or offshore host, will do whatever they can get away with.

      And, the governments will happily buy it from those 3rd parties as well since it lets them get around any restrictions on them actually gathering it themselves -- I seem to recall a story a couple of years ago where the CIA did exactly that to get around some legalities around domestic spying. Because, if it's capitalism it can't be violat

  • by Anonymous Coward

    You see, I like to go and visit porn sites and then Evangelical Christian sites and then pot legalization sites and then pro-gay marriage sites and then back.

    I'm hoping the social conservatives will see and think, "Hey! Our flock likes gay marriage, porn and pot. We better get behind the legalization of pot or we'll lose our worshipers!"

    Or they'll think I'm just Republican Congressman.

    That's what I tell myself anyway. ..

    • You see, I like to go and visit porn sites and then Evangelical Christian sites and then pot legalization sites and then pro-gay marriage sites and then back.

      I'm hoping the social conservatives will see and think, "Hey! Our flock likes gay marriage, porn and pot. We better get behind the legalization of pot or we'll lose our worshipers!"

      Or they'll think I'm just Republican Congressman.

      That's what I tell myself anyway. ..

      It's okay, you can tell it as it really is - when I'm stoned, I think that Jesus is kinda cute, too. ~

  • I'm sure there are ways for sites to be in compliance with the no-tracking feature, but they will still track you.
    • by dzfoo (772245) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @08:26AM (#35817000)

      Actually, Chrome supports "Don't be (too) evil": It uses a "super cookie" to persist opt-out cookies. That allows subtle tracking (since the user has to actively opt out of sites, implying that he visited them) without actually tracking you, as you suggested.

      Safari, Mozilla, and IE9 support a blanket "do not track me" header, that gives away no information about your browsing, other than the fact that you do not want to be tracked.

              -dZ.

  • so i have ie, firefox, chrome, safari, and opera always installed on every one of my machines (work/ mobile/ home)

    sometimes i'll randomly launch browsers just to get a feel for the user experience ("___ is not your default browser, would like to make..." ad infinitum). i'm sure if slashdot data mined the HTTP_USER_AGENT server variable attached to user circletimessquare they'd see an odd 5 piece pie chart

    but after reading this post, i foresee the chrome pie piece experiencing a significant decrease in size

    c'mon google, what the fuck

    and this is why competition works. if only ie dominated, as in years past, there's be little or no pressure to introduce this feature. honest fair competition (in a well-regulated marketplace) means the consumer wins

    one final aside: i love opera. that's one scrappy browser. they always seem to have the most exotic features that leave your mind excited rather than eye-rolling (like bit torrent support baked in). supporting opera, unfortunately, is an afterthought in most browser development projects i've been attached to, and in the past, it suffered from the same hijinks as ie6/7 which left you angry at it and resentful (not so much anymore). but i've always tried to support opera. and its not just sentimental love for the underdog, opera is a really good browser, you should try it (no i'm not affiliated with them in any way). i believe its hot in nordic countries (which makes sense, since its from there) and eastern europe

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      Their core business is online advertising. You really expect them to make a browser that limits online advertising? Before they start losing market share to browsers that do have it?

    • by osgeek (239988)

      Yeah. I love Chrome, but if Google doesn't bite the bullet and respect users' wishes for even a flag request for privacy... they can fuck off. I'll switch to Firefox in a heartbeat.

    • Opera is my primary browser and it is head and shoulders above Firefox in mose areas. The one area (and it's an important one to me) that Firefox is consistently the best is privacy settings (and IE seems to be next, but I don't actually trust it). You need one setting in Firefox and the browser saves nothing. It's excellent. I wish Opera would catch up in that area.
      • What about private tabs. They don't keep a history and they don't seem to save any cookies, and they don't even know about cookies I've already save (i.e. if I navigate to slashdot in a private tab I'm not logged in).
        • First of all, Opera was late to the game with private tabs. Second of all, setting Opera to remember no history requires many more options changes than Firefox (Firefox has one setting which says in plain English "Remember Nothing"). Thirdly, tab isolation is the new frontier of privacy and I've heard no movement from Opera to add this. Now, there is a "do-not-track" setting which other browsers are implementing and Opera is again in last place. Pay close attention to my second gripe (the privacy settin
    • so i have ie, firefox, chrome, safari, and opera always installed on every one of my machines (work/ mobile/ home)

      sometimes i'll randomly launch browsers just to get a feel for the user experience ("___ is not your default browser, would like to make..." ad infinitum).

      Can't you bother to check the don't ask me again checkbox?

      but after reading this post, i foresee the chrome pie piece experiencing a significant decrease in size

      I think that you are overestimating the knowledge and privacy concerns that the average user has.

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      Really? You think that the Chrome market share will drop because Google doesn't include a checkbox that makes the browser get on its knees and beg the other end of the line not to track you? In a related note I suppose you also think laws banning spam were the reason the internet is now spam free .... oh wait.

      Seriously I'm all supportive of a vote with your wallet approach to companies screwing the users, however the fact that you think that this entirely and completely useless feature in any way will have

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday April 14, 2011 @08:11AM (#35816854)

    Since Google Analytics seems to be on about every website in the known world these days, it hardly surprises me that Google would be reluctant to support this. Wouldn't this feature essentially cripple it?

  • Wonder when they are going to implement malicious bit in TCP-IP.
    • They already almost have.

      Think about the idea of individual page elements of a webpage needing security certificates. If a page contains elements that are not certified as "original copyright holder" then any use of that page would be malicious. (Pending new law from congress discussing "unauthorized data serving" even when not copied per se (ignoring cache)).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "Google states that they 'will continue to be involved closely' with industry discussions about compliance with the do-not-track system."

    Of course that's so they know what they need to do to make it not work.

  • Yes, Spam legislation did SO much good. /sarcasm All it did was move it off shore. While advertising may not move off shore, the fact is that you can't legislate tracking, and you can't solve it with "Please please don't track me" buttons. Oh, so you can get adsense to stop following you? Big whoop. If a website wants, they can each have their own tracking software, and sell to highest bidder.

    And you keep pushing and pushing, and sites like Facebook will start throwing up warnings about how crappy yo
  • This is a good combo, not sure why Apple is developing their own when perfectly good options already exist.
  • Google states that they 'will continue to be involved closely' with industry discussions about compliance with the do-not-track system.

    Who else can smell the methane coming off of this obvious political statement? Talk about side-stepping to avoid making a comment. This is why I use Firefox. No fud, community supported, rock solid.

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