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Mozilla Moves Ahead With Do Not Track Browser

Publication Date: 
June 19, 2013
Katy Bachman

Aleecia McDonald, director of privacy for the Center for Internet and Security, spoke with AdWeek's Katy Bachman about the center's new online privacy iniative called "Cookie Clearinghouse" and how she hopes it will help provide Internet users with better privacy options. 

Much to the disappointment of the digital advertising establishment, Mozilla is going ahead with plans to automatically block third-party cookie tracking in its Firefox browser.

Mozilla first announced its Do Not Track browser in February, only to back off in May saying it needed to do more testing. But that didn't stop a growing chorus of loud protests from the advertising community, which argued that the browser would choke off the ad-supported Internet. The Interactive Advertising Bureau's general counsel Mike Zaneis called Mozilla's browser nothing less than a "nuclear first strike" against the ad community.

No date has been set for when Firefox will turn on the feature, but advertisers,which have been regularly meeting with Mozilla and were hopeful for a compromise, are already lashing back at Mozilla.


Not all cookies will be blocked under Mozilla's latest plans for its proposed browser; there will be exceptions. Through a partnership with the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, the two are launching a Cookie Clearinghouse. Overseen by a six-person panel, it will determine a list of undesirable cookies and then block those.

"The Cookie Clearinghouse will create, maintain and publish objective information," Aleecia McDonald, director of privacy at CIS, said in a statement. "Web browser companies will be able to choose to adopt the lists we publish to provide new privacy options to their users."