Mozilla’s New Feature Will Lessen the Likelihood of “Invasion of Privacy” Lawsuits

Mozilla Firefox has made a respectable stride in dealing with the issue of behavioral targeting with their new “do not track” setting. The practice of behavioral targeting entails tracking the activity of internet users, and then tailoring advertisements to their browser based off of their activity. This practice has angered many legal experts, who assert that such conduct is an invasion of one’s privacy. For those who many not know, “invasion of privacy” is a legal cause of action from which one may claim damages.

In response to such an accusation, many sites claimed that there was an “opt-out” option where users could avoid having their online activities tracked. The problem with this was that this “opt-out” option was never heavily promoted. If people do not know about an option, they are not likely to use it. Therefore, the activity of most online users was tracked, despite this apparent “opt-out” option.

What Mozilla has added with their Mozilla Firefox 4 is a “do not track” (DNT) feature in the browser’s heading. This way, it is visible feature for all to use. When a user enables the DNT feature, the option is exercised via the HTTP address, which in turn informs servers that a user does not want to be tracked. Earlier, “do not track” options were dependant on cookies. By going through the HTTP address, Mozilla has provided a more convenient and effective way for its users to not be tracked.

Not only has Mozilla provided a more convenient solution for its users to avoid being targeted, but it has also made a respectable effort to appease the fears of legal experts. When the upheaval regarding behavioral targeting first arose within the legal community, the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) formed. The DAA was created to devise a self-regulatory program so that people’s online privacy would not be invaded. Mozilla has now proposed to the DAA to include their new feature as a part of their self-regulatory program. This is a great proposition. With the introduction of such a feature, less people will be tracked, which will lead to less lawsuits stemming from the invasion of privacy cause of action. All in all, it is a win-win situation.

Editor’s note: Neha Sareen is a regular contributor to LegalMatch and the LegalMatch Law Blog.

  • Thanks Aishwarya,

    Great to know about this new feature in Firefox version 4. I am not a fan of having advertising agencies track my every move especially inside a browser! I know now that I can turn the do not track feature off pretty easily.

  • thanx aishwarya, for creating awareness about this feature, i never knew there was a do not track feature in Firefox.

    How to enable Do Not Track in Firefox:
    From within “Options”, go to “Advanced”, and under the “General” tab check “Tell web sites I do not want to be tracked”. That is the feature they are talking about, and it is only available in Firefox 4.

  • Neha Sareen

    This post was written by Neha Sareen, not Aishwarya.

    • oh, sorry neha. Nice article, congrats!!! 🙂

  • im yet to try firefox 4 dude to the addon incompatibility issue . guess its better than the prev ones ..

  • I have yet to try Firefox 4 as I don’t want to lose the ability to use some of the apps I’ve become dependent on which still don’t have stable support for v4 but this looks like a good feature that they have incorporated. One of the main reasons I moved away from Internet Explorer and onto options like Firefox and Chrome was the additional security they offered.

  • Awesome it is about time more companies started doing things like this.

  • When a user enables the DENT feature, the option is exercised via the HTTP address, which in turn informs servers that a user does not want to be tracked. Earlier, “do not track” options were dependent on cookies. By going through the HTTP address, Mozilla has provided a more convenient and effective way for its users to not be tracked.

  • rock boys

    You possibly can plant an enormous amount of useful bits of information and details on sports activities using the tiny league tale guide. practically all information and details and details is without any a doubt methodically repaired on this publication in purchase that you just cannot certainly need your individual tiny brown eye out it all. It’s going to revitalize your mind jointly with bodily structure.

    Accounting Software