Mozilla, the developer of the Firefox web-browser, has decided that voluntary compliance by advertisers with its ‘Do Not Track’ settings is not working. Advertisers have basically been ignoring what is essentially a request by users, so instead of giving up, Mozilla has taken the right step and will simply not allow ad networks to install cookies on user’s computers or phones. This will of course cut ad revenue to some sites that rely on it, but it will also be a major step to slowing the proliferation of online tracking.
Of course, it can also be seen as a new negotiating position in a long conflict, as the Centre for Democracy and Technology points out, it could be a negotiating position that is all about trying to force companies to implement Do Not Track requests as a compromise from wholesale cookie-blocking. But I’m fully on board with Mozilla here either way. I very much doubt that Microsoft will take a similarly ethical stance on user control – because that’s what this is really about, not privacy as such but who has the right to control information about themselves.