Firefox “Do Not Track” Feature Punches Advertisers in the Gut

Firefox launched a do not track feature earlier in January. This feature allowed users to opt out of tracking of user behavior.

Advertisers used the tracked data to display relevant ads, based on browsing data. The feature was received quite well, though Mozilla admitted that the feature was far from perfect and it further required the tracking company to agree not to get involved in tracking the user once he/she opted out. In short, the feature was more of an agreement between the user and the tracking company, an agreement that was never going to happen.


Advertisers depend on the user’s browsing data for ad-relevance, and this feature can kill the current business model of advertisements. However, Mozilla CEO  Gary Kovacs says,

It gives the user the opportunity to put their hand up and say, ‘Don’t track me. If our 450 million [users] put up their hands, someone’s going to listen: governments are going to listen, policy makers are going to listen, ad networks are going to listen.

Further, Kovacs justifies his view by saying,

We just want the user to know, and then choose. When I go to Netflix, I want a recommendation–I want it to track me.

However, what he says not is that Netflix is a service he is actively willing to use persistently, which is not the same with ads.

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Chinmoy Kanjilal

Chinmoy Kanjilal is a FOSS enthusiast and evangelist. He is passionate about Android. Security exploits turn him on and he loves to tinker with computer networks. You can connect with him on Twitter @ckandroid.