A coalition of Internet firms, including US-based Google, have agreed to support a “do-not-track” button to be installed in web browsers that would help protect the privacy of computer users across the globe.
The ‘do-not-track’ feature has been announced as part of the White House’s call for Congress to pass a “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” that will allow Internet users greater control over how their personal information is collected and used online.
For more than a year, Internet browser companies have resisted embedding the button.
But slowly, various browsing companies have adopted the feature, including Mozilla with its Firefox browser, Microsoft with Internet Explorer and Apple with its Mountain Lion operating system.
People who clicked on the button, however, were still being tracked because advertisers and tracking companies hadn''t agreed to honor the system, The Wall Street Journal reports.
According to the Digital Advertising Alliance, which represents over 400 companies, firms will now have to begin adopting and honoring the system within nine months.
But the new do-not-track button is not going to stop all Web tracking, the report said.
The companies have agreed to stop using the data about people''s Web browsing habits to customize ads, and have agreed not to use the data for employment, credit, health-care or insurance purposes.
But the data can still be used for some purposes such as “market research” and “product development” and can still be obtained by law enforcement officers, the paper said.
The do-not-track button also wouldn''t block companies such as Facebook from tracking their members through “Like” buttons and other functions.