The next official release of Google’s Chrome browser will more than likely support the Do Not Track (DNT) initiative by sending the DNT HTTP header to websites if the user chooses it, as the support was added to the browser’s latest developer build.
With this move, Chrome becomes the last of the “big” browsers to implement it – until now Chrome users who wanted to have the option were required to download and use an official Do Not Track add-on.
The Do Not Track initiative is endorsed by the FTC, and the project includes collaborators from technology companies, privacy advocacy groups, and a number of independent researchers. The Do Not Track header enables users to opt out of tracking by websites they do not visit, and that includes social platforms, advertising networks, and analytics services.
Since Google has a major stake in the market of online advertising, it is understandable that the company delayed incorporating the option in its own browser.
At the time being, websites are not required to comply with the user’s Do Not Track request, so it offers little protection. Of the large Internet companies out there, only Twitter has voiced its support for the initiative and has rolled out the DNT opt-out cookie.
In the meantime, Microsoft has announced that the new Internet Explorer 10 will have “Do Not Track” on by default, and Roy Fielding – one of the founders of the Apache HTTP Server Project, a scientist at Adobe and one of the editors of the DNT standard – reacted to the news by adding a patch to the open source Apache HTTP Server that will make it ignore the DNT header if sent by the IE10 browser.
Microsoft’s announcement has moved the discussion about the DNT option to a new level, and has likely made it more difficult for all Internet players involved to agree on a final solution.