back to article Google 'Do Not Track' extension preempts feds, Mozilla

Google has released a Chrome browser extension that lets you opt-out of tracking cookies from multiple online advertising networks. The move comes less than two months after the US Federal Trade Commission called for a "Do Not Track" mechanism that would let "consumers choose whether to allow the collection of data regarding …


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  1. TaabuTheCat

    Lipstick on a pig

    Behavioral tracking should opt-in ONLY.

    1. The BigYin

      I agree

      All tracking should be opt-in only. Unfortunately the advertising companies can raise bigger bribes than you or me, so their laws get enacted (what, you thought this was a democracy?), This is why you get the twenty check boxes written different ways at the bottom of sign-up pages; half must be "false" to avoid stalking, half must be "true" to avoid stalking, Legal maybe, but hardly in the spirit.

      but if you were to post on line where the CEO of those privacy invading companies were to be, you would make Assange look like the tooth-fairy.

      Roll on the revolution. We need "marketeers" in the same way we need cancer. They are a by-product of a system run amok.

  2. Dave 62

    look guys, I made a rotary transportation facilitation device

    So how is this different from running CookieMonster and AdBlockPlus on Firefox? ABP blocks many ads entirely so they can't even set cookies and CM makes it far easier to blanket deny cookies then only allow the ones you need.

    I'm more worried about flash based tracking.

    1. The BigYin


      ...CookieCuller then. Or "run once" virtual images, "VirtualBox" is free for personal use (and pretty sweet too).

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Does anyone...

    Does anyone actually take notice of these ads?

    I just find them really annoying.

    My willingness to buy the product is inversely proportional to my annoyance at the ad.

    I would even go so far to say that I consciously avoid brands that have annoying commercials on the TV even if I would otherwise be willing to try their products (and I know a good deal of other people that are likewise minded).

    1. The BigYin
      Thumb Down

      What ads?

      I block the shit out of them because they piss me off, even here. Stop with the flashing nonsense, yeah? Have links to products obvious without being jarring (e.g. underline in text colour). Did you know that El Reg has often mentioned something in text that has made me think "Awesome" but provided no link? So I had to go to a search engine and El Reg lost on some revenue.

      If I am aware of your advertising, then your advertising is *FAIL*. If I see a name in an article I should be able to click on that name and go (in a new tab, please) to a site relevant to that company and that product (not a pissing landing page). Your adverts should be transparent to me. Because, let''s face it, "DoubleClick" et al are going to get striped at source.

      I would like to support you (e.g. I like to look of Apple TV2), make my life easy and you can have my money.

      Content and context management is my game. Be amazed at my search engine optimisations. Call 0898-hire-a-tard. Have your needs fulfilled today!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What advertisements?

      Use the hosts file. Those not familiar with it can find out more here:

      For Windows users there is even a nice little freeware utility called HostsMan that will do it all for you:

      It is probably still a good idea to use Beef TACO, CookieCuller and Ghostery to avoid tracking even if you can’t see advertisements.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      And me

      I am glad I am not the only one who avoids ads that piss me off.

      gocompare anyone ?

  4. Phil Hare 2

    SRWare Iron

    That is all.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    And! While! Your! At! It!

    Get all those naughty people to stop freejacking on My (yes, that is MY as in my) paid for, traffic observed broadband.

    The cheek of it!

    Not only do they put in a phone back reporter that probably summates user practices of some form but then freejack it to send back on MY (ditto above) paid for broadband!

    And as for emails ...... sheesh! A spot of tidying up there would be for the good of all (apart from profile builders (ad or dark side motivated).

    (These ad people are almost disrespected and disrespecting as much as investment bankers)

  6. Sureo


    "You may see the same ads repeatedly on particular websites, or see ads that are less relevant to you," the company said."

    And that's a problem why?

  7. LestatiaDeLioncourt

    They didn't preempt one company:

    Abine, Inc. released ChromeBlock, a Chrome extension that lets users opt out of ad networks and behavioral trackers, a while ago. It also lets people choose what they opt out of, making the experience more customized and not the all-or-nothing type of experience that Google's Keep My Opt-Outs seems to offer. I've been using it and it's great. Plus I trust an independent company far more than one like Google that gets tons of money from advertisers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Work for Albine much ?

      Albine can keep their crap.

      Beef TACO all the way!

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. The BigYin

    Google have cookies?

    How quaint.

    Meex Privoxy and may various blockers, bitches.

  10. JDX Gold badge

    Works even if you clear cookies?

    Doesn't this mean Google are tracking you super-closely in order to firmly identify you as someone who doesn't want to be tracked?

  11. Remy Redert


    Is it available? If so, has someone checked just what this program all does and most importantly, that it does nothing more than what it says on the tin?

    As much as Google wants to make money off ads, I doubt they'd go as far as to sneak something in their tracking blocker but better safe than sorry.

    JDX, wrt to do not track cookies. In general they're simply a cookie that tells the server not to track you, with no identifying information or anything like that. I suspect that all this add-on does is, like the many other add-ons that came before it, is simply maintain a list of do not track cookies, either preventing them from being deleted when you clear your cookies or simply reinstating them after you do.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Make sure to read the terms of use and privacy policy that comes with the software/service

    And ask one of your paranoid linguist/lawyer friends to reread the fine print for you. Google does a lot to assure you your data isn't shared, if you read between the lines they're saying they maintain exclusive "rights" to YOUR data and act as a proxy between (other) people seeking to exploit your data and guard data a competitor might try to copy, unless someone from the government wants it. If you try to opt out of behavioral targeted advertising, then you opt out of seeing the advertisements, but not the behavioral tracking itself and the data may be used later. When you use their analytics or ad opt out mechanisms, data is still transferred to their server and your "opt out" may expire or get deleted like a regular cookie. Even then, don't trust anything you read. And of course, you can expect the server logs and other records to be "anonymized" after a year and a half or so.

    Maybe the plugin will send the header, but if we're currently relying on self regulation, then how do we actually know what it means? Should we trust Google saying "Check this box if you like your privacy. This is an adequate privacy protection from any threat. Trust us." There's no standard defining what Do Not Track means and there's certainly no legislation to back up the option if Google does not follow its own rules. You're better off changing Firefox's settings and installing addons to block requests to Google.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Is it just me...

    ... or are Google now letting people have an add-on that blocks tracking by advertisers... the self-same advertisers that created the value of Google? That seems to me like a hooker finding a horny girlfriend for you.

  14. heyrick Silver badge

    When will this be available for Android?

    I am writing this on an Android phone and the level of advertising is quite annoying. While you can raise all sorts of "this website/app is funded by adverts", keep in mind that when I'm away from the home WiFi, every advert is costing me, and possibly more than the revenue offered "per view".

    I especially take offence at the constant barrage of flirt adverts. Anybody would think I was a lonely bored male thirty-something... oh, wait...

    1. Gangsta


      root your phone and install AdFree.

      Works more often than not

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Root my phone...?

        I need a 30 hour day. There's PC code here, ARM code there, I'm trying to get to grips with the insides of my (MPEG4) video recorder... and katakana... and I think the squiggly glyphs might prove to be a simpler proposition!

        In short, I decided when I got my phone that it is to be a *tool*. No rooting it, no downloading the SDK, no taking it apart. No matter how much my inner moppet might want to do all of that. I just don't have the time or resources to take on something like that.

        And yes, this is the first tech gadget I've ever owned that didn't have its warranty voided before it was out of its box. ;-)

  15. Anonymous Coward

    They can track us anyway

    Until they get rid of your unique MAC address they can track you anyway. You might as well assume that anything on the internet is open to all.

    1. Chris Miller

      Who are this 'they'?

      You are aware that IP* datagrams don't usually contain the MAC address? The only way to find the MAC address of a remote device (not on the same subnet) is by use of specific protocols such as Inverse ARP, which typical devices won't support. Only your ISP can readily access your MAC address - and they will 'know' who you are anyway.

      If you're using static IP then people such as Google can keep track of your activities, but only in the sense that user x appears to be the same person or organisation as user y. If you're worried about your MAC address being tracked, it can be easily changed in any case.

      * For IPv4 - IPv6 devices may autoconfigure by including the MAC address in the IPv6 address to ensure uniqueness.

    2. Matthew Collier

      MAC address... unique (theoretically/mostly), to your NIC, but, "they" can't track you using it, because it's only used between your computer, and the next hop (hopefully, at home, your Modem/Router).

      However, source IP (the real one, as opposed to the usually NATed, public facing one), (which isn't unique, and usually not identifying either), they can, even, often, through a proxy (depending on it's setup).

      Of course, there would be nothing to stop software running on your computer, reporting it's MAC address (or SSID or a whole bunch of other stuff), back to the mothership...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      you what ?

      You mean you publish your mac address ?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Spoofing MAC addresses

      There are various ways of changing the MAC address for Windows, Mac and Linux. SMAC ( is one such for Windows. I don't know how to disable Apples unique identifier on its iStuff though.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      ARP is non-routeable. Nobody outside your subnet can see your MAC address. Dumbass.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Just because someone doesn't know the exact ins and outs of the IP protocol stack and routing, this hardly makes them a dumbass. Try thinking that you're actually talking to someone before you reply, it might make you a bit more tolerant.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Thinking "they" can track your MAC address is akin to wearing a tinfoil hat to protect yourself from the government's mind control rays. Hence I consider my insult (and I have to say it was quite a mild one) to be justified.

          Anyway, this is the internet, where you can hide behind AC status if you want to criticise someone without fear of reprisal. Notice that I didn't, and you did.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They can track us anyway

      MAC addresses? Learn the ISO/OSI model, buddy.


  16. Anonymous Coward

    Chrome = Google = Evil

    If you're even remotely considering using Chrome or actively using it, you have already forfeited your right to be in a discussion on privacy!


  17. Fluffykins Silver badge

    I still don't get it.

    "began showing showing ads to netizens based on the pages they had visited in the past."

    OK. that tells the advertisers what you were interested in yesterday/last week/last month. It sure as hell doesn't tell them what you will be interested in NEXT, does it?

    The other thing I don't get is why the hell anyone in their right mind would be expected to cick on an advert link or one in an emailed ad? You can't tell for sure a) who actually placed the ad, where the link actually goes and c) what's at the other end. As a case in point, I have just checked out a nasty little piece of work purporting to come from Samsung, as part of a footie themed promo. Samsung say its nowt to do with them and are 'investigating'

  18. Mystic Megabyte

    Flaking Chrome

    I installed the vanilla Chrome on this Ubuntu box and it made itself the default browser even though that option was not selected!

    I also have Firefox, Opera and a virtual IE8 so I think that Chrome will be uninstalled soon.

  19. Bilgepipe


    "When [Firefox's DNT option] is enabled and users turn it on, websites will be told by Firefox that a user would like to opt-out of online behavioral advertising."

    Phew, I'll sleep easy at night knowing that website operators will definitely take any notice whatsoever of this "option" which states that users "would like to" opt out of behavioural advertising.

  20. Gilgamesh

    Block ads and cookies, get false sense of security

    One word, Panopticlick. El Reg has covered it, you really think tracking creeps are just relying on cookies these days?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns


    SOME advertising is actually useful and clever BUT:

    a) There is actually VERY little that I want or need...

    b) If I did want it and need it - there in arises the question of money and priorities; and

    c) That being said, then 99.999% of all advertising is just time wasting stupid shit being jammed in my face, by time wasting stupid people.

    Following on from this is the fundamental principle - "If I want it, I will go looking for it" - which is something all these DICK HEAD advertisers seem to not understand.

    1. heyrick Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Dickhead advertisers

      I guess they work on the same sort of principle as the "pick-up artist". They'll send out a few hundred thousand spams, if ten people think "oooh, I'll score my diazepam from these guys" then they will have made those additional sales. "Conversion rate" probably matters a lot if you are a double glazing rep going from house to house to punt your wares. Conversion rate probably doesn't matter if you can click a few on-screen buttons and let a million people know about your product. It's damn-near free and there are no troublesome ethics committees to oversee the advertising to make sure it is legal and acceptable etc. That's why it is so attractive to dickhead companies (or maybe "hustlers" might be a better word?).

      As to your fundamental principle - I absolutely agree. There is no way in hell I'd buy meds on-line. There is also no way in hell I'm going to watch a DFS sale advert and suddenly decide I need a new sofa. Like you, if I need something I will look it up. In several places. And see who offers the best price and after-sales, and how both the product and company rank in user reviews (and I actually read the reviews, not look at stars, so I can mentally filter suspected shills). I guess we're an advertiser's worst nightmare. ;-) Still, throwing more and more crap at us is not going to make us cave, quite the opposite, I say!

  22. JaitcH

    I love the acres of white space provided by ...

    No Script.

    It makes you realise just how much advertising Facebook is buying.

    All the options/add-ons available for use with Firefox makes it a hard browser to match. It puts the USER IN CONTROL!.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Easy solution?

    Make the sendee pay.

    Why should another party make use of my hardware, my telecom charges and my capped broadband?

    Why it's just like letting someone at a bank take all the money entrusted to the bank down to the races. Betting the lot and losi.... Hey! I see what I mean now?

  24. LestatiaDeLioncourt

    Abine & TACO

    I don't understand the bloatware claims about Abine's software. I've been using it for a long time, and sure, it has its bugs from time to time, but it's a great utility overall.

    And I echo everyone here who's saying that ALL tracking should be opt-in. It completely violates everyone's privacy and expectations to impose it on us. We can't get to the point where we EXPECT these sorts of invasions, because the Fourth Amendment's protections depend heavily on the public's subjective expectations of privacy (in addition to the objective "reasonableness" standard of whether that expectation is valid).

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