FTC Criticizes Chrome Browser for Lagging Behind on Privacy

Paul Lilly

Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz is holding Google's feet to the fire for the lack of a "Do Not Track" feature in the company's Chrome browser. It's the only major browser that has yet to jump on board with this specific privacy trend, which the FTC back in December recommended that all browsers adopt.

"There have been a lot of developments on 'Do Not Track,' which has been terrific," Leibowitz said in an interview with Politico. "Apple just announced they're going to put it in their Safari browser. So that gives you Apple, Microsoft, and Mozilla. Really the only holdout -- the only company that hasn't evolved as much as we would like on this -- is Google. But they're moving in the right direction."

Google said that it does offer a plug-in called "Keep My Opt-Outs" designed to help Chrome users avoid most behavioral advertising, and of course there's the Incognito mode built into Chrome. But the reason Google has dragged its feet in implementing a Do Not Track feature is that the entire concept currently relies on the honor system. Should they wish to do so, advertisers could blatantly ignore a user's request not to track their surfing behavior.

Still, Leibowitz says that getting all the major browsers on board is key in pressuring advertisers to go along with it. He says that some advertisers "are coming around. They're not a majority yet. But they're a growing insurgent group, as I understand it."

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