Abine, the specialized Web privacy organization has upgraded a Firefox extension that can more exactly block ad networks and websites from tracking users’ behavior.
The extension is known as Targeted Advertising Cookie Opt-Out or TACO. The extension was designed to stop websites from setting cookies, or small data files, within a person’s Web browser, which can then later be read by the company and use to track people’s actions on their websites.
Cookies can as well hold additional data; which can be used to further precisely target advertisements. Users are regularly unaware of this tracking or to the level to which their Web browsing is being watched. Extensively used advertising networks like Google’s DoubleClick or Microsoft’s Atlas can potentially observe much of a user’s behavior if they visit sites using those networks.
Abine’s CTO and founder, Andrew Sudbury stated that if you to any websites with DoubleClick, they are just in real time watching your Web browsing. He further claims that, TACO lets people to block some 123 advertising networks; which use behavioral targeting. In its newest 4.0 version, Abine has furthermore added the capacity to block other items that pop up on pages like Facebook’s pervasive Like button.
TACO lets people to turn that feature off on a site-by-site basis, or totally off. It can as well do that with Google’s +1 a feature not related to the lately announced social network; that is alike to the Like button.
On the other hand, TACO can in addition stop a range of Web bugs or beacons, which are one-pixel transparent bits on a website that contact external sites to report activity.
Abine has developed a set of rules for TACO that uses signatures to detect tracking attempts. When TACO is running, users can see in a pop-up window what tracking technologies are used and then selectively block them.
A easy way to fix the problem is the Do Not Track idea, which would let user to choose out of behavioral advertising by sending an HTTP header to a website notifying the site the user does not want to be watched. Firefox currently has a feature that let people to inform websites they don’t want to be tracked.
However there is extensive support from privacy campaigners and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, barely any websites have been retooled to respect Do Not Track as there are no laws in the U.S. mandating it.