Apple Safari Browser to Receive Anti-Ad-Tracking

Dennis Faas's picture

Fans of Apple's Safari web browser will soon be able to mask their online activity from online marketers via a handy new Do Not Track feature. The tool will be available with the release of Lion, an upcoming version of the Mac OS X operating system (OS), currently only available to developers.

The public will get their hands on Lion (and thus Do Not Track) this summer. We're learning of the browser feature through online discussions of Lion on Twitter and various online forums.

Microsoft, Mozilla Beat Apple to Punch

Apple is by no means the first company to bring a Do Not Track feature to its web browser.

Both Microsoft and Mozilla have introduced similar tools in their Internet Explorer (IE) and Firefox browsers, leaving Google's slim-but-speedy Chrome the only holdout.

Plans appear to be in the works for something from Google, however, with a representative recently saying that the company "will continue to be involved closely" in discussions about Do Not Track. (Source:

In the meantime, Google has released a stop-gap extension program called Keep My Opt-Outs that the search giant says provides "one-step, persistent opt-out of personalized advertising and related data tracking." (Source:

Do Not Track: Only If Web Sites Agree

Do Not Track tools work by automatically informing websites and online advertisers that user activity should not be tracked. However, there is one caveat: the feature only functions if web firms agree to respect these preferences.

Understandably, there's still a lot of uncertainty about how browser companies and advertisers will negotiate this new system where user privacy can be respected.

Despite the attempts by Microsoft and Mozilla to lure web users with Do Not Track, it's actually Chrome -- the one browser without a native Do Not Track tool -- that has shown the most rapid growth, nearly doubling in popularity over one year's time.

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