Originally published: December 9, 2010
Last updated: December 9, 2010 - 4:45pm
This report assesses the privacy control features of the five major browsers (Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, and Safari) and concludes that no single browser stands above the rest -- all have strengths that are offset by weaknesses.
The report notes that privacy controls haven't kept up with some of the newer tracking technologies, including "object controls" (such as for Flash and DOM storage) and location services. In addition, consumers may find the number of controls confusing and instead use default privacy settings, which are typically weak. The report acknowledges that one strategy for increasing the usability of privacy controls would be to implement a "Do Not Track" option for consumers, either through industry self-regulation or by legislation. Microsoft and Mozilla have both recently announced initiatives to incorporate global tracking controls into their browsers. However, since behavioral web targeting is just one aspect of the privacy issue, such a solution is no substitute for a federal baseline consumer privacy law.
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