back to article Mozilla slips 'Do Not Track' header into Firefox nightlies

Mozilla has uploaded a working prototype of its "Do Not Track" http header into the Firefox nightly builds. Anyone interested in testing the header can do so by downloading a pre-beta version of Firefox, but it won't have any real effect until websites and advertisers chose to recognize the thing. Mozilla proposed such a …


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  1. Aaron Em

    Still useless

    Still no explanation of how this is supposed to be anything other than a pure marketing ploy: "Mozilla Works Harder to Keep You Safe!"

    1. Ed Vim

      Not completely useless and not a ploy

      Online security and privacy issues are a major problem and Mozilla throwing their hat in the ring with this announcement is hardly a marketing ploy. Microsoft has already made similar press releases about this with IE, and also Google with Chrome. The aspect that is 'useless' is all three parties are focusing on fixes for their own environments instead of collaborating on a common, universal solution. There's a detailed explanation by Steve Gibson on a recent, "Security Now" podcast.

  2. Neoc


    While this will be picked up by some (hopefully most) of the advertising agencies, it will be ignored by the very agencies that p*ss you off in the first place.

    1. Anonymous Bastard
      Black Helicopters

      Worse than useless

      The unscrupulous advertisers won't ignore the header, they'll make sure to add it to their profiling software. Now they have an extra field to track you by, one that'll identify the technically minded sort of person.

  3. Robert E A Harvey
    Thumb Down


    As log as you are politely asking the nasty people to be nice, this will be nothing more than gesturism.

    We don't need to flag the users preferences, we need to get all the suppliers assessed and flagged somehow. Independently and legitimately.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Took them some time...

    Here is how it was supported much quicker by most marketing companies:

    function DoNotTrack():void { return null;}

    To Firefox: "ok guys, we added preliminary support for your new function".

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Why would a void function return "null" instead of just return?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't taze me bro

    Other headers that Firefox might find useful, and which are guaranteed to be equally effective:




  6. Yag

    Totally useless

    "it won't have any real effect until websites and advertisers chose to recognize the thing." = "it won't have any effect."

  7. Tim Bates

    Why bother?

    I can't see the point. Surely this will have very limited effects. Aren't most places that are dodgy enough to track you also dodgy enough that they won't give a toss about this header?

    OK, so some companies like Google will probably obey it, but the privacy nutters will already have blocked the cookies from these well known and better behaved advert-vendors.

  8. My Alter Ego

    Reported earlier on Slashdot

    The resounding reply was, surprise surprise, it won't work.

    People seem to forget that for most websites that do tracking, we're not the customer, we're the product. The customers are the advertisers, and websites are selling us to them.

    But then, that's a difficult as expecting football fans to understand that it's not a sport to the clubs, but business*, and that they don't care about fans hating the new American owners of the day.

    * Had to get the jab in there following this morning's papers being full of transfer "news"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      why this is actualy very silly

      This is my reasoning as an advertiser and website owner:

      My website is free for the users and my money comes from ads (users can opt out from ads with a small paid subscription), therefor ad companies are my customers and I'm selling them users that click on their ads. If a user doesn't want ads then he is not earning me money (he has no value to the advertising company) and I don't even want him on my website! Why give him something free if he doesn't even both to view ads (not necessarily click - all I want is an honest chance of showing him something he could be interested in)?

      If advertising companies go with this, this thing only cheats webmasters from their hard earned clicks. It stands to reason that I would then either only work with ad companies that ignore this crap, or I would ban users that have this in their header. To me they are freeriders.

      1. Neoc

        Missed the point

        Read again: DNT does not stop adverts, it (supposedly) requests that advert agencies do not track your internet usage.

        Yeah... *that*'s gonna work.

  9. Peter Mc Aulay

    Wait, what?

    They propose this on some blog, which nobody outside geek circles reads, and it won't have any effect until world+dog changes their web site? In particular, it requires the advertisers, against whose very interest this is, to cooperate?

    Somebody has seriously lost sync with reality here.

  10. FARfetched

    Ineffective, redundant

    Ad companies are going to be slow* to adopt this. Ad-blocking plugins are already available for major browsers — why not use them? Or just edit /etc/hosts to route obnoxious ad-sites to

    * Think molasses in Antarctica.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the point is

    not that $TRACKINGWEBSITE can ignore your preferences anyway, it's that they could no longer claim you gave any kind of implied consent to their tracking.

    And if they write code to explicitly ignore your lack of consent, then they can't claim to have been ignorant of how you chose to communicate your views.

    The best they can say is "Oh? I never heard of that header before!" ... which is a pretty feeble response.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "What's a header?"

      You've never worked at a marketing company. They don't know what an HTTP header is, don't care, and wouldn't know how to not track you anyway. They don't give a damn about ethics either, or they wouldn't be in the business. So keep on blockin'...

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Reminds me of RFC 3514...

    aka "The Security Flag in the IPv4 Header ", which proposed the use of an "Evil Bit" flag to identify malicious packets. Of course it was one of these famous April 1st RFCs.

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