File Under: Browsers, Identity

‘Do Not Track’ Tools Land in Firefox Nightly Builds

Mozilla is wasting no time putting its proposed “Do Not Track” HTTP header onto the web. The latest Firefox nightly builds now include support for the new header and it may even make the final release of Firefox 4, due later this month. The new HTTP header, which Mozilla announced last week, is designed to tell online advertisers to stop tracking your web browsing habits.

If you’d like to see how Mozilla has implemented the header, grab the latest Firefox nightly build. There have been a few changes since Mozilla first announced its plan, including renaming the header to simply “DNT.”

To turn the header on, open Firefox’s preferences panel and select the Advanced tab (eventually Mozilla will add the option to the more appropriate Privacy tab). There you’ll see a new option to “Tell websites I do not want to be tracked.” Of course even if you turn the header on today and broadcast “DNT: 1″ to the web, it won’t do anything.

For the header to actually protect your privacy, websites and online advertisers will have to support it. While there’s plenty of debate as to whether they ever will, it definitely won’t happen until the feature is widely available. Mozilla is hoping that including the new header in Firefox 4 will spur advertisers to support it.

For now, broadcasting “DNT: 1″ will be, as Alexander Fowler, the Global Privacy and Public Policy Leader at Mozilla, puts it, “akin to displaying EFF’s Blue Ribbon campaign.”

The current plan is to test the privacy header in the next beta release of Firefox 4 and then, assuming there are no bugs, roll it out with the final release of Firefox 4 later this month.

See Also: