Firefox may have been one of the first browsers to include a “Do Not Track” option for users, but the lack of uptake on the service could mean that it’ll become one of the only browsers to offer the privacy service as well.
According to Jules Polonetsky, a researcher and founder of the Future of Privacy Forum think tank, less than 1 percent of Firefox users are taking advantage of the ability to opt out of targeted advertising tracking. That information comes from two ad networks that are monitoring the DNT signals their ad servers receive, but Polonetsky isn’t surprised — in fact, he says, it tracks with the numbers for more traditional “opt outs” of marketing:
Opt out rates have consistently been under 1 percent, for more than a decade now, and they are not likely to change with the advent of Do Not Track. It’s not going to be a big, scary thing [for advertisers].
Over the past year, DNT has become a popular discussion topic with politicians and those inside the industry. Do these numbers — which Polonetsky admits come from a time when Firefox 4 was still pretty new, possibly before users had discovered the DNT option — mean that its importance has been overstated?
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