back to article Firefox 'Do Not Track' header wins first convert

Mozilla has announced that the Associated Press has become the first organization to adopt the "Do Not Track" http header introduced by Firefox 4. According to a blog post from Mozilla privacy man Alex Fowler, the AP News Registry is now using the header across 800 news sites reaching 175 million unique users a month. He also …

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Or just set all non useful cookies for deletion on browser exit...

It's a step in the right direction though.

Shame the browser is such pants...

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So you have...

a plugin that determines which cookies are useful and which ones are not and then deletes the useless ones when the browser exits. Amazing. Where can I get this plugin?

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Stop

Re: So you have.

Who said anything about a plugin?

Just set your browser to ask before storing non-session cookies. Then read and act on the pop-ups.

It's not rocket surgery.

Would you like me to pop round and show you how to do it?

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Anonymous Coward

Cookie monster

"Where can I get this plugin?"

Cookie Monster

http://forum.addonsmirror.net/index.php?showtopic=6599

Disable cookies by default, temporarily allow a site if and only if you decide it is needed, permanently enable only for the sites you choose.

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Anonymous Coward

You'll find it between your ears

Works a treat.

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Cookies are easy in Firefox.

All I do is whitelist the sites I wish to store cookies for, along with whether they should be treated as permanent or session cookies. As far as I can tell Firefox is the only browser which allows cookie whitelisting in this way -- if it can be done in Chrome or Opera* I'd be interested to hear though.

*I know a similar result can be achieved in Opera by electing to be asked for each cookie then telling Opera to remember the decision for that site -- but I find it becomes a PITA quickly.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Anomalous Cowturd

> Just set your browser to ask before storing non-session cookies. Then read and act on the pop-ups.

Can you tell me how to tell the difference between a cookie used to remember my preferences for a site (useful, spans more than one session) and one used for tracking purposes within that site (useless, spans more than one session)? That is what your comment implies you can do.

This ability to manually decide which cookies to accept or not has been there for nearly as long as cookies have been there. It is just a real pain in the arse because of the amount of cookies sites hand out.

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Badgers

Sometimes.

As I don't spend my entire day visiting different sites, it's not a major problem for me.

Sites I visit regularly I allow cookies for, if I consider they might be useful. I am not bothered by the site I am using tracking my internal movements. It's the ones that follow your every click on every site that I object to. These tracking cookies are generally "third-party", so are disallowed by default.

Opera also allows blacklisting via the urlfilter.ini file. OpenDNS allows blocking for your whole network whatever the browser / OS you use. Or use a hosts file... Or iptables... Or......

There's more than one way to skin a cat. Or a badger!

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Troll

Excellent!

I can now start targeting my "boost your privacy" scareware ads much more effectively.

Can we have an evil genius icon please.

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Or, the cognizant user ...

... can choose not to see ads by not allowing advertisers to access their personal, private property.

Why is it that marketards seem to think that they have an inherent right to use other people's property to display their bullshit? Isn't that "theft by conversion", and/or annoying graffiti? Can I paint my business name and telephone number on the inside wall of your house, or the dash of your van, without me compensating you for the trouble?

Before anyone says it, I don't care that adverts supposedly pay for commercial TV, radio & the like ... I block 'em all just as aggressively as I do Web ads. They are all fucking useless, a waste of time, usually outright lies, and often insulting to anyone with half a dozen working brain cells.

I *know* where to find cheese, tampons, razor blades and lightbulbs. I don't eat fast-"food". When I want a new car/bike or tow vehicle, I physically test-drive the competition. I don't lease anything (I'm not an idiot). I don't give a rat's ass what department store has bras or lawn mowers on sale ... when the Wife needs bras or a lawn mower, she purchases same. I make my own pizza, wine, bread and beer. No, I am NOT going to switch banks. I do my own plumbing. I bought a couple fan belts at the local autoparts store today ... because I needed them, not because I read their advertising (never replace one belt ... always replace all of'em ... trust me). When we need hay/straw/alfalfa/shavings for the horses, I call around to see who has the best deal at the moment ... likewise for Innova for the dawgs & no-climb fencing, etc.

Advertising & marketing is, in the face of all evidence, fucking useless.

Unless you're an un-educated idiot, that is ...

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EXACTLY!!

EXACTLY!! Adverts are just pointless and just end up increasing the price of the product being advertised. I'm not going to buy something just because it's advertised, it depends if I need/want it anyway even if that product happend to be advertised.

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Anonymous Coward

... cue theme from superman ...

"Why is it that marketards seem to think that they have an inherent right to use other people's property to display their bullshit?"

They don't. They usually pay for the privilege of using someone else's property. You must be some kind of ...

"Unless you're an un-educated idiot, that is ..."

It would be nice if El Reg did what Ars does, and offer premium accounts. Then people like you could put your money where your mouth is. Now, on this page alone:

The Register logo and strapline - branding

Repeated use of red - branding

Coherent page style - make it look nicer than your average manpage

Fuksuhima Article box - pretty picture, entices you to see more product

Most Read box - entices you to click and see some more product

Latest jobs box - full on advertising, might catch sight of a good job

Droid Article box - pretty picture, entices you to see more product

All these are just shiny shit for idiots? You have a massively inflated sense of your own intelligence. Must come from living with so many horses, dogs and other dumb animals. Me, I'm smart enough to know that my intelligence has limits, that I don't always make the best choice, that I'm quite capable of being conned. I am neither stupid nor uneducated.

"No, I am NOT going to switch banks."

Brand loyalty? Because you then say ...

"When we need hay/straw/alfalfa/shavings for the horses, I call around to see who has the best deal at the moment ."

So ... before you buy anything you hunt around for the best deals? Anything? Why are you shopping at Whole Foods?

"Why would I, when I can get anything I want within 50 miles of here, and actually look the seller in the eye when I make my purchase?"

At whole foods ... you can look the counter staff in the eye, sure. But what, apart from a sense of Texas, does that earn you? If you shopped online you'd have more time for all that curdling and rendering and formenting and developing and whatever else it is you do.

By the way, I can't buy kombu within 50 miles of where I live. At least, not to my knowledge. Perhaps if I'd paid more attention to some of the local advertising I'd know. Is it okay if I go online and look for some and not somehow be an idiot? Actually, fuck it. Driving 50 miles for seaweed is as retarded as you can get. I'd rather earn the dollars per hour and pay someone else to drive the stuff around.

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Stuff. And Things. Some of it shiny.

I'm going to have to go ahead and agree with Mr Dee here.

If I'm getting something for nowt, as I am on this website, I can't say I care much if there's ads on the page, so long as they're displayed in a useful manner. If the site's ads are obtrusive to the point where I can't easily get to the info I'm after without having some sort of fit, well, tab closed; no future clicky from me. It seems to me that the majority of sites have got this into their heads too, it's quite rare for me to come across a badly configured site these days. Perhaps I don't spend enough time in the darker pits of the internets?

Do ads work? Well, for me, idiotic schleb that I am, yes, sometimes they do. For casual purchases like CDs and videogames I'd say most of my purchases were initiated by adverts. I no longer buy magazines on those subjects so every now and again I'll happen across an ad that tells me a game or album I'd heard about a couple of months ago (via some form of advertisement) is now out, so then it's off to youtube for a sample, then down the shops for a purchase if I want it. It's a similar story when shit breaks in the flat. Sure, I could fix it myself, I'm not entirely useless, but there are people out there that do it for a living who are presumably a bit better at it than me and require people like me to not have a pop at it themselves so they can afford to eat. Since I don't keep a store of their info in my head at all times, I rely on their advertisements to tell me who they are. It's hardly the most evil of evils. As for ads for stuff I don't need or want? Well, I just ignore them.

So yes, ads on sites; get the layout right and most sane people are content, get it wrong and no sane person is coming back to your epilepsy inducing marketing disco.

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Well said

I agree most advertising is absolute rubbish, I find it bloody annoying when I have to use a browser that does not allow ad blocking, Safari on a borrowed iPhone for example. The ads may retain the page layout but they severely screw up the page flow. Shiny, flashing annoyances that just bug me me beyond belief.

I don't mind ads when I am in the market for some new toys, I will buy a magazine or go to websites that I know will be targetting me because I went there, fair enough. Just being constantly hammered by images of the so called perfect life we're all so supposed to aspire to, no matter where I am and no matter hwo much it costs in time, money and sanity? No thanks, I like to choose when and where you can advertise to me.

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@John Dee

"They usually pay for the privilege of using someone else's property."

Yes, they do. But they pay a third-party, not the property owner. Do you understand the difference? One is "rent", the other is "theft by conversion".

"It would be nice if El Reg did what Ars does, and offer premium accounts. Then people like you could put your money where your mouth is."

It's only a matter of time. Will I pay for a "premium account"? I'm not sure ... I view ElReg as mostly entertainment ... with good tech news as gravy.

"All these are just shiny shit for idiots?"

Yes, IMNECTHO. ElReg reads the same for me text-only. All the meaningful content is good old ASCII, after all. Looks good amber/green-on-black. Try it.

"You have a massively inflated sense of your own intelligence."

Maybe. I'm fifty-ish, and comfortably retired enough to waste time responding to you. That's probably not all that smart ... But then I tilt at windmills.

"Must come from living with so many horses, dogs and other dumb animals."

Animals aren't dumb. They are animals. If you, as a human, are smart enough to grok how and why animals respond to their genetic programming, you can become an animal trainer.

"Me, I'm smart enough to know that my intelligence has limits, that I don't always make the best choice, that I'm quite capable of being conned. I am neither stupid nor uneducated."

OK, if you say so. Somehow, I don't think you really get it ...

Re: my bank ... Yes, brand loyalty. That, and nobody else has ever made me a better offer. Nor likely will ... I am in the low double digit customer numbers for this credit union. They like me, I like them, and we scratch each others backs.

Regarding critter chow & bedding ... We buy in bulk. Not calling around for the best price on the several tens of ton(ne)s that we go thru' yearly would be daft.

I went to Whole Foods (and Sonoma Market) looking for kombu because my Wife wanted a specific soup that my Japanese aunt taught me to make ... and I was out of the variety of kombu that I usually have mailed to me by my sister & brother-in-law who live in the outskirts of Tokyo. The two markets are spaced a couple blocks apart, and no more than 10 miles from where I am typing, and both usually stock an acceptable substitute. If I wanted to drive 50 miles, I could personally harvest the fresh stuff from the Pacific ocean. I can't comment on availability in your region, because I have no idea where you live.

Going online and actually searching for the availability of kombu in you region is called "opt in". You CHOOSE to go find something. Getting it stuffed into your face regardless of your need/want is called "opt out" (if, in fact, you can actually opt out ...), and, in my mind, completely evil.

n.b ... How many of my comments across how many articles, across how many months, did you respond to there, anyway? Might want to ask yourself if there is a word for that ...

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Anonymous Coward

Might want to ask yourself if there is a word for that ...

Hyperlink.

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Anonymous Coward

Also ...

Memory.

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Dead Vulture

To Jake (@Jake just sounds a bit uncivilised)

All fine points, but the main one I can’t get past is that by blocking ads on this site you’re effectively saying that the content is worth nothing. Which begs the question of why you come to it. Do you see what I mean?

Presumably the nice people here at The Register get paid for their work, and since I don’t pay any money to read it, the money must be coming from the ads. So, when viewing a site I’ll make a value judgement along the lines of, “is the content worth the annoyance of any ads present.” For this site, the answer is yes, and for others the answer is no, and I don’t go back to them. You seem to be saying the content isn’t worth the annoyance of the ads, but you want it anyway; for nothing. You’ve valued the content at nothing. I mean it’s not stealing, but it is a bit cheeky, no? If *everyone* blocked the ads, there would be no funding and therefore no site to block and no tech-joy funnies for us to read.

The alternative to ads is a paywall on every site. Now, I’m certainly no expert in online journalism, but running it though my brainmeats I come to the conclusion that this would either make online information prohibitively expensive for a huge slice of society or dramatically reduce the breadth of content available. Probably a bit of both, but I’m certainly open to a more informed opinion from someone who knows about these things.

That said, since I had to look up what ‘IMNECTHO’ meant, I’m guessing this isn’t going anywhere, is it? Ah well.

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Memory's wonderful ...

... if you don't need two posts to make two lines of commentardary.

The word I was looking for is more along the lines of "stalker" or "obsessive".

Your mileage may vary. Carry on.

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Anonymous Coward

Well ...

... I changed my mind on what I wanted to say. What has that to do with memory?

Research into a tard's claims is kinda easy what with these hyperlinks and all. A few clicks (or tab, tab, tab, tab, tab, tab, tab, tab, tab, tab, tab, tab, enter for you lynxtards) to track down a reference to an over-priced brand name do not an obsession make. It's called research. It's like you spending hours with the phone book trying to shave a few cents off a pound of hay.

By the way, care to expand on why you chose Whole Foods and Sonoma Market? Couldn't have anything to do with your awareness of their brand and how they communicated that to you ...

As for memory. Yes, mine's good enough to remember that you claimed to have a semi-eidetic one. Would think you'd understand the ability to draw on old arguments in current ones. Clearly not. Perhaps your memory's not quite as you claim. "[C]omfortably retired enough" and "fixing client machines" don't sit that well together either.

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@John Dee

" ... I changed my mind on what I wanted to say. What has that to do with memory?"

Lack of cognition doth not a good argument make ...

"It's called research."

YOU are admitting to researching ME? And you call me a tard ... Get a life, kid.

"It's like you spending hours with the phone book trying to shave a few cents off a pound of hay."

Try a couple minutes with my rolodex, saving thousands of dollars quarterly, tens of thousands yearly.

"By the way, care to expand on why you chose Whole Foods and Sonoma Market?"

I'm in Sonoma. The only other real local alternatives are Lucky and Safeway (neither of which I frequent), a local grocery (Broadway Market), and a small handful of Hispanic markets (most of which I frequent for various specialties) ... none of which sell kombu. Which, if you were paying attention, was the point of my odyssey.

"Couldn't have anything to do with your awareness of their brand and how they communicated that to you ..."

Nope. They are local, and sell what I was after at that time. Sonoma's a small place. I know what's available in all the local markets.

"As for memory. Yes, mine's good enough to remember that you claimed to have a semi-eidetic one. Would think you'd understand the ability to draw on old arguments in current ones. Clearly not. Perhaps your memory's not quite as you claim."

Note the "semi". I almost never read the name of the subject's author in the comments ... and I'll warrant you don't, either, unless you are commenting. You are reading my back-log in order to "one-up" me. Stop it. You look silly.

""[C]omfortably retired enough" and "fixing client machines" don't sit that well together either."

I'm "officially" retired from IT, and no longer have a nine to five in IT. I still take IT contracts for various parties, for various reasons, as I see fit. Why do you have an issue with that?

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@The Grinning Duck

"All fine points, but the main one I can’t get past is that by blocking ads on this site you’re effectively saying that the content is worth nothing."

Nope. What I'm saying is that the adverts are worth nothing. I've addressed the concept of a subscription model for ElReg elsewhere.

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Megaphone

Still with the opt out?

Double opt in FTW!

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Go

Good Idea - So their Sites will work with no Cookies?

If most of the web uses this then most of the web will now work with no cookies?

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Yes! (We wish!)

I have no problem with adds - easy to ignore the irrelivant and once in about 10,000 one that is of actual interest to me comes up.

What I object to is unnecessary cookies. I use the ask-then-white/black-list feature on Konqueror and nearly 100% of sites that have no reason at all to place a cookie for /my/ convenience or benefit request to place one (or usually several). That annoys me. Tracking whether I want closed captions or comments on or off is good. Anything else is not in my interests so get lost!

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Ghostery...

Alternatively use Ghostery which doesn't depend on the ad farming industry to behave like responsible 'net citizens but will block tracking cookie and scripts from all the known offenders.

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Happy

Only Mozilla could havve done this

Somehow it doesn't surprice me that the first one to implement this is mozilla, even with its strong ties to google.

The other ones are so strongly tied to the advertising industry that this move was practicly unthinkable. The last one to implement this is probably apple safari as they have the most stubborn policy makers and the most ambititous advert plans.

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you are kidding right?

Seriously you think this effort is of benefit to users. You need your head examined. The ad industry loves this shit hence why it's being "supported". It's the lesser of two evils for them. Under this ridiculous system any ad creator can just ignore it and the industry body will say "bad boy" and nothing happens. Win-win for the ad agency. If they had REAL balls they'd do a white list or a black list option which would of been of use to users. The first browser to make this happen will get me to switch to them as most of the stuff these days is much of a muchness.

This joke of an effort deserved the greatest scorn for the cop out any browser manufacturer could ever design/

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This is *so* not going to happen

"Hey, guys ... quick convene a board meeting, Mozilla has this new feature that will enable us to stop tracking millions of users .. .why, if we implement this in our advert/spam back end .. we could lose ..w ell, millions of dollars in revenue ... lets start work immediately!" ..

You *reall* think they are going to implement it on the ad-farms .. and even if they say they do, you really think they will?

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Simple solution

Fit all ad industry execs with GPS ankle cuffs so we can perform behavioural analytics on them. I'm sure Google would be happy to map that.

Conducting this type of surveillance and privacy invasion in the physical world would be unacceptable, yet it's considered a reasonable business practice online. Funding websites via ads is one thing, tracking and profiling people another especially when most of the time it's done without the user's consent, knowledge or any convenient way to opt out.

I also suspect it's counterproductive, other than for people making or selling privacy tools. If ad sellers asked users what ads they wanted, they may get more clickthrus.

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Hoisted by your own petard

Ah in your own words you've clearly been drinking from the MS Kool-Aid. A DNT header was first proposed by Mozilla and included in FF4 nightlies around 1st Feb. MS added the idea to their own Tracking Protection Lists proposals at the end of Feb. So the idea was a Mozilla idea and first appeared in FF4.

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FAIL

See icon

And https://wiki.mozilla.org/Privacy/Jan2011_DoNotTrack_FAQ ...

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Boffin

Not quite...

If I remember rightly, I think you'll find that the Do Not Track header was indeed a Mozilla idea, but Microsoft added it to their IE9 tracking protection features (and to their W3C submissions in this area) 'cos they liked it and thought it was a good way to go. As opposed to Google's version which I understand was/is rather more pally-pally with the content and ad network folks. Or something like that anyway - I'm sure there are articles here on El Reg that discuss it in more detail.

Whatever - the point remains that the idea for the DNT header was still Mozilla's. Microsoft just happened to implement it in IE9 before it appeared in FF4.

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Kool Aid?

Andy, you've drunk some Kool Aid yourself. Both Microsoft and Mozilla are following the footsteps and encouragement of researchers Christopher Soghoian and Sid Stamm. They implemented a DNT proof of concept as a Firefox plugin and have pushed for DNT for years.

For once, evertthing is going right. A researcher has a good idea, a regulator applies pressure, major browser manufacturers cooperate, major websites adopt the technology. But some people just can't help themselves, casting this good thing into their worldview of Black v White warfare.

The most accurate description would be "fearing FTC regulation, major US web sites looked to browser manufacturers to provide a mechanism which would enable a self-regulatory opt-out based mechanism for user tracking. The major browser manufacturers cooperated to include a extant and proven proposal for such a mechanism into their next major releases."

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Far simpler to...

...simply use a hosts file and block ad sites. Sure, you have to update the list once in a while, but it's hardly a big effort. I rarely see any ads online save for those in Google Apps, but they are so discreet that I forget they are even there. For intents and purposes, the web is mostly ad free for me.

However, anything that is on a path to regulation of marketing, albeit self regulation to start with, is a good thing.

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Go

It's one step of a Plan.

If you want to implement law against tracking, you need the Public(tm) to speak out against it first. The presence of a Do Not Track header in every request lets you do that. If you don't, then the scum can defend themselves saying: "But how were WE to know that he didn't want us to unzip his fly and rummage around inside?" Which would start a whole long and tedious discussion about opt-in, opt-out, reasonable expectations and what-have-you, during which business continues as usual, and then, oh, the government changes and nothing happens.

This way, when someone is caught tracking people who have enabled the Do Not Track header, they are demonstrably wrong.

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Flame

There are adverts on the Internet?

Who knew?

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Happy

I think we are being a little unfair here towards.......

...........many ordinary punters - they are not all Pavlov's mutts. An awful lot of people just ignore the ads *unless* they are actually on the lookout for a specific category of wares. I hate to spoil (for example) El Reg's day but I take absolutely no notice of the ads when I read here if they are not advertising something that I am *already* looking for. I am not saying that these buggers should not be kept on a reasonably short leash, I am just pointing out that the punter can contribute (and many do) by utterly ignoring any advertising that is not of immediate and genuine use to them. You can to a considerable extent control how far you can be used as click-bait. However, in general terms I do agree that advertising execs belong in the scorpion pits - just on principle, you understand.

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MJI
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As said before the advertising companies are killing themselves.

Why do we block them?

Because they are irritating.

A few years ago, banner adverts on forums were very common, nobody bothered, in fact we occasionally visited them.

Then the animations started.

The sounds.

The popup over the top so you couldn't read the page.

The embedded in your forum posts.

The large ones on the side.

And they wonder why we block them?

Yes advertisers it is YOUR fault YOU are blocked.

Do Not Track - no tracking me anyway!

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Dead Vulture

It's the bad websites that ruin web advertising for the rest...

Like the ones that turn the excess border round the page into a default click-through to a 3rd party...

...shame on them.

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Pirate

Yep, advertisers are digging their own grave.

"As said before the advertising companies are killing themselves"

Yep.

And TV is the same. I used to actually *not* change channels when commercials came on, but when nearly all the commercials started that then-new fast-flashing bullshit about 10 or so years ago, I quickly turned into a channel-hopper (switching channels when ads came on). Never was before! A mini TV is always on, inbetween my 2nd and 3rd computer screens, thus always within clear sight, usually tuned to one of the ad-infested news channels. (Dunno about England, but on this side of the pond, ads come on every few minutes, all throughout the show, unless it's some 'public' station.) So now, that TV's little channel-changer sits perched on my main keyboard so channel changing takes a mere split-second even when I'm typing or editing something.

The fucking retarded ad agencies have killed the goose that laid their golden egg. They had a good thing going, but no more, and it's all their own damn fault. Much of their intended audience is now so royally pissed off (or at least in "avoidance" mode) about the content and quality of the ads, that we'll go out of our way to avoid their aggravating stupid-ass ads.

We, their intended audience, weren't always that way. We used to actually read/watch/listen-to and sometimes even enjoy their ads because the ads didn't used to be so jarring and distracting. The advertisers have brought this on themselves.

Separate issue:

"I take absolutely no notice of the ads"

Ah, but you still are getting brand-reinforcement even though you may not be consciously aware of it.

Perhaps years later you'll be shopping for something and one of the brand names will seem vaguely more-familiar somehow, skewing your judgment in favor of that brand just ever so slightly, because - even though you might not remember it on a conscious level - you'd seen it advertised numerous times years before. So even though you thought you weren't taking "notice of the ads", the ads can still have an effect. That is not necessarily a bad thing, that's just the way the human mind works and advertisers know that, but it's good to be aware of it.

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Anonymous Coward

Keep your DNT header

and keep firefox.

I'd prefer to use software that blocks the advertisers cookies all together.

Do I trust advertisers to "do not track"? NO!

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