Do Not Track lands in networking hardware

Router maker adds the controversial technology to its line of hardware for home and small business.

Amid the on-going venom of the Do Not Track privacy debate, Sitecom, the maker of routers for home and small businesses, next month will add support for the technology to its networking hardware.

The company's Cloud Security Software suite, which is the firmware for its router line, will have Do Not Track (DNT) as a configurable feature. It will not be on by default.

Sitecom appears to be the first to add the techology to hardware and provide a central DNT enforcement point.

The DNT technology lets users opt out of being tracked by websites, including analytics services, advertising networks, and social platforms. Sitecom's routers will tag with a DNT flag any outgoing traffic from any client device connected to it, including smartphones, tablets and game consoles. 

Sitecom is launching its X-series 3.0 routers next month with its DNT-enable firmware. Users of existing Sitecom hardware can update firmware with DNT for free.

The company, based in the Netherlands, offers a series of wireless and wired routers, network adapters, switches and printer servers among other networking tools.

DNT is already found in the most popular browsers - Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari. Google's Chrome finally joined the DNT party earlier this month. It also appears iOS6 has controls to toggle on DNT features .

Microsoft kicked the DNT hornet's nest in June when it made DNT a default setting in IE 10.

DNT, which is in the standards process at the W3C, has ignited an often-contentious debate between the online advertising industry, web developers, privacy advocates and governments.

The advertising industry mostly demonizing the technology, while privacy advocates laud the ability for consumers and others to protect their web surfing habits.

Ther are no legal requirements governing DNT, which to-date is a voluntary system Web sites are free to ignore. In fact, the Digital Advertising Alliance does not require companies to honor DNT signals.

In October, European digital chief Neelie Kroes said standardization work "is not going according to plan. What is the problem? Top of my list comes the watering down of the standard."

She added: "The DNT standard must be rich and meaningful enough to make a difference when it comes to protecting people's privacy."

The issue might be approaching "moot" status. The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the DNT effort is in "peril" and may falter.

Do you know of other vendors that have DNT-enabled their products?