Apple is adding a Do-Not-Track feature to the company’s Safari browser, which will be updated this summer when the next version of Apple’s Mac OS X software is expected to debut. The Do-Not-Track feature is a tool that allows consumers to opt out of having their information shared with advertisers who use it to serve up more relevant ads.
The Wall Street Journal Reports,
The tool is included within the latest test release of Lion, a version of Apple’s Mac OS X operating system that is currently available only to developers. The final version of the operating system is scheduled to be released to the public this summer. Mentions of the do-not-track feature in Apple’s Safari browser began to appear recently in online discussion forums and on Twitter.
It is expected that the new Do-Not-Track feature will make its way to Safari on earlier version s of OS X and likely show up on the Windows version of Safari in order to offer a similar experience across platforms.
The Do-Not-Track feature is also found in Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox, but the remaining hurdles is industry adoption by advertisers. The addition of these features is in part to avoid legislation , but so far the advertising industry hasn’t come to an agreement on how to make use of the Do-Not-Track features.
The Do-Not-Track term may be a bit frightening to normal users, who likely don’t want their online activities tracked, but in reality the biggest thing it will affect is the quality of ads you see. With the tracking technology currently in place, advertising networks can send you ads that should be at least interesting or on target when you visit a website.
For example, if you visit a iPhone case website and then go browsing to other websites, you may see advertisements relating to that company, possibly including coupons designed to get you to come back and purchase.
Sure, the tracking can be abused, by individuals or companies, but I would prefer that we leave the law out of our browsers. Hopefully the advertisers can come to an agreement and this issue can be handled by cooperation instead of legislation.