All the major browser makers plan to install a “Do Not Track” button this year — except for one, according to an attorney representing the Digital Advertising Alliance.
Stuart Ingis, counsel to the DAA, says that Apple, creator of the Safari browser, is “not engaged” in the process at this point. Of course, that doesn’t mean the company might not come on board later; the DAA is holding the door open.
Apple’s lack of an opt-out privacy option for consumers comes after a Wall Street Journal investigation revealed that Google was overriding Safari’s privacy protection features to glean data from consumers. Apple is not a DAA member, and the company could not be reached for comment.
Update: An alert reader notes that a Do Not Track feature appeared last week in the standard preferences for Safari 5.2.
Apple’s stance contrasts with DAA members, who vowed to go the self-regulation route after the Obama Administration issued a “Consumer Bill of Rights” for online data tracking Thursday.
Perhaps the highest-profile DAA member to agree to a Do Not Track button is Google, which plans to offer the option on its Chrome browser.
The button, a proposal favored by the Federal Trade Commission, will be available in Chrome by the end of the year. “We’re pleased to join a broad industry agreement to respect the ‘do-not-track’ header in a consistent and meaningful way that offers users choice and clearly explained browser controls,” Google Senior Vice President of Advertising Susan Wojcicki said in a statement.
If you take the “Do Not Track” option, then Google and other DAA members have agreed to stop using web-based behavioral data to create so-called “interest-based ads” and won’t use the information for health care, employment, credit and insurance purposes, Ingus says.
However, the data will still be used for market research, product creation and to abet law enforcement.