Twitter Implements Do Not Track

Type threatpost
Reporter Dennis Fisher
Modified 2013-04-17T16:32:13


Twitter has implemented the Do Not Track header on its site, giving users the option of telling the site that they do not want to be tracked across other sites on the Web. The implementation is being done through the DNT technology in the Firefox browser.

Firefox, like other major browsers, allows users to enable the DNT option, which uses an HTTP header to inform sites that they don’t want sites to set cookies that enable persistent tracking across the Web. Sites need to choose to respect that particular header in order to make Do Not Track work on their pages, and that’s the change that Twitter has made.

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Twitter officials said on Thursday that they had implemented Do Not Track.

“The Federal Trade Commission’s CTO, Ed Felten, just mentioned Twitter now supports Do Not Track. We applaud the FTC’s leadership on DNT,” Twitter said in a statement.

Tracking of users through the use of special cookies has been a highly controversial practice, and advertisers have clashed with both privacy advocates and government regulators on the use of tracking cookies. The Federal Trade Commission and other organizations have supported the use of Do Not Track as a way to give consumers the ability to opt out of such tracking. Mozilla and Google have implemented it and Microsoft has implemented a similar system in Internet Explorer.

“Industry has made significant progress in implementing Do Not Track. The browser vendors have developed tools that consumers can use to signal that they do not want to be tracked; the DAA has developed its own icon-based tool and has committed to honor the browser tools; and the W3C has made substantial progress in creating an international standard for Do Not Track. However, the work is not done. The Commission will work with these groups to complete implementation of an easy-to use, persistent, and effective Do Not Track system,” the FTC said in a report on privacy in March.

Earlier this year Yahoo said it also would implement DNT on its sites.

Twitter on Thursday also updated its privacy policy to give users more information on the kind of data they collect and how users can change that.

“When you turn on DNT in your browser, we stop collecting the information that allows us to tailor Twitter based on your recent visits to websites that have integrated our buttons or widgets. Specifically, we remove from your browser the unique cookie that links your browser to visits to websites in the Twitter ecosystem. We then cannot provide tailored suggestions for you,” Twitter said in an explanation of the new support for Do Not Track.