Mozilla: Almost one in 10 Firefox users opt for Do Not Track

Mozilla: Almost one in 10 Firefox users opt for Do Not Track

Summary: The Firefox outfit has published a round-up of its achievements this year, including what it says is proof that 'there is a real user appetite for choice on issues of web privacy'.

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Almost one in 10 desktop Firefox users have enabled 'do not track' on the browser, with a much higher proportion of Firefox for Android users doing the same.

Do Not Track (DNT) is an emerging standard that lets people tell websites that they do not want to be tracked with cookies as they surf. The way in which it is implemented is the subject of furious debate, with privacy advocates saying it should do what it says on the tin, and advertisers claiming that marketing tactics should never be blocked.

In a blog post on Friday, Mozilla Firefox engineering chief Johnathan Nightingale said eight percent of desktop Firefox users have enabled DNT, while 19 percent of those using the browser on an Android device have done the same.

According to Nightingale, this proves that "there is a real user appetite for choice on issues of web privacy".

The statistics came as part of a round-up of Mozilla's activities this year. Other highlights include the passing of the three-billion mark for Firefox add-ons, and the shipment of the popular browser in 89 languages.

Firefox is the third-most-used browser in the world, behind Chrome in first place and Internet Explorer in second.

Mozilla is in the process of building a Firefox OS for mobile devices. According to Nightingale, work on the operating system has already resulted in the release of 30 new web APIs "to bring the power of mobile apps to the open web".

"For Firefox OS, 2013 will be the year when the world can see and hold and try a real device powered only by the power of the web and, for many, it will be the first smartphone they've ever been able to afford," Nightingale wrote.

Topics: Privacy, Browser, Open Source

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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14 comments
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  • It does break some things

    I have found it does break some web sites a little. Although for most DNT is probably worth it to many. My question is, how is this going to affect online ads and their revenue? Google has to be at least a little worried. As a user myself I don't think I can count on one hand the number of times I clicked on a ad. Usually it was by accident. It certainly makes many web sites load faster not having the ads run.
    jscott418-22447200638980614791982928182376
    • No. I doesn't.

      I'm unsure what you're referring to, but it sounds like an ad blocker - something that does not ship with Firefox.
      Do No Track (DNT) simply sends a message to websites expressing your desire not to be tracked. It is up to the site if they want to honor this wish.
      DNT does not block ads. In fact, it does nothing on the client side that would break a site.

      If you're seeing ads being blocked in Firefox it's likely from an ad blocking addon such as Adblock Plus.
      caspy7
    • Sites are not required to follow DNT.....

      Since there is no law that requires sites to honor the Do Not Track, I wonder how really effective this option is really going to be.
      linux for me
      • Consider it voting

        Website owners may or may not honor DNT, but I suspect some of those that don't pay attention to how many visitors opt for it.

        And some will honor it.
        John L. Ries
  • Mozilla: Almost one in 10 Firefox users opt for Do Not Track

    I thought it would be a little higher because anyone using Firefox would know to go in and customize the options. I have it enabled on my Firefox and usually do the same when I'm working on other people's computers.
    Loverock-Davidson
    • Unfortunately, not everyone.

      When it comes to Firefox, I'm the one that goes in & customizes the options, even when installing it for my in-laws on their PCs. Just one of the perils of being the "techie" in the family.
      spdragoo
  • Chromebook phone?

    “Mozilla is in the process of building a Firefox OS for mobile devices.”

    Interesting. Isn’t that want they did the laptop world with Chromebook? And how has the public taken to the Chromebook? Dismally. Now they want to do the same to smart phones?

    And before you tell me that Chromebook sales are up, I would point out that there has been a considerable increase of TV ads for that useless thing of late, and those will pull in some suckers. So, yes, sales will go up, but wait until people realize that they aren’t getting the power and abilities of a real laptop.

    “For Firefox OS, 2013 will be the year when the world can see and hold and try a real device powered only by the power of the web and, for many, it will be the first smartphone they've ever been able to afford."

    I doubt that. Where is the cost of a cell phone? In the OS? Or the hardware? I would guess most of the cost is for the hardware, and this new phone will probably cost almost as much as the other smartphones. And since smartphones have browsers if you want to go to the Internet, it is the same situation as with laptops vs Chromebooks. You'll get a less-than-full powered phone, a subset of a real smartphone. How will you play Angry Birds on it?

    Doc
    Doc.Savage
  • This should be opt out by default

    Why not just enable it by default?
    bradavon
    • Because...

      ...the DMA will throw a hissy fit just as it did when MS did just that to IE. If I remember rightly, the DMA's official position is that it will not discipline members who ignore DNTs from IE.
      John L. Ries
      • Doesn't that stance

        make DNT worthless?
        Michael Alan Goff
        • No, because...

          ...there are at least some marketeers out there who understand that people who are unhappy with you are not going to want to buy from you.

          And half-hearted cooperation from the DMA is better than none at all.
          John L. Ries
  • Errr.....

    I'm sure more than 10% would use DNT if (a) they knew DNT was available or (b) they knew what DNT meant. I'd turn it on as soon as I use any browser.
    Only the advertisers and those you wouldn't trust want to kill DNT.
    Gisabun
  • DNT, very funny

    Please, DNT is something to make you feel like you have improved security. To actually improve security would mean that the portals would have to show you ads based on your current query, not on your age, hair color, shoe size, religion, etc.

    So far I like the IE tracking protection lists best. Refusing to send your information to informatics sites is the second best way to maintain your privacy.
    mswift1
  • Does Then DNT work

    I have been to sites (Amazon, newegg), viewd products, open and close the browser the next day or so and see advertisements for the same products come up, even on different sites that i viewd the product on.
    scribe63