There is finally a way to stop companies from tracking the Internet users’ movements through web browsers as Mozilla is currently testing its new cookie restrictions on about 10,000 Firefox users.
For so long, there have been debates on the real priority of the browsers. It seems that a lot of the browsers in existence today continually partner with commercial enterprises and they apparently “sell” the rights to use the identity of their users for market research. As you well know, cookies allow companies to track and monitor the users as they move from one website to another.
The information obtained from this so-called monitoring can be used to market products and online services to the users. That is why you probably noticed that the websites you are surfing regularly seems to offer you the exact kinds of products and services you might be thinking of buying. This is because the cookies have already sent this kind of information to the companies.
Thankfully, Firefox is moving towards a different direction. To the horror of industry groups and companies, the company has officially embraced a web browser that gives more importance to the privacy of a user. With the cookie restrictions set by Mozilla, Firefox’s maker, advertisers would have a limited access to users.
Profit Versus Privacy
The war would, of course, fall between these two antagonizing factors. What is really more important? The profit gained from the market research done on unsuspecting web users? Or the privacy of these web users who had no idea that their personal information is being used in marketing products and services?
There is also the question of whether the restrictions put on cookies will affect the overall flow of the web browsers.
When it comes to consumers, maintaining their privacies above income and profit will always be their obvious choice. A survey done by Ovum in February showed, in fact, that 68 percent of people using the Internet in 11 countries said that they would limit the tracking of their web usage if they easily could. This was reported by Harvey Anderson, vice president and general counsel for Mozilla.
He said that Mozilla’s move to protect the privacy of its users is closer to what the consumers want rather than the advertisers.
Sophisticated Tracking Devices, Big Loss to Free Internet Sites
The issues didn’t stop on the battle between profit and privacy, however. Because of these new restrictions, there is a theory that advertisers will find a more sophisticated way of monitoring a user’s web traffic. This means that there might be more problems in limiting what the companies can get from the user once a more sophisticated and advanced way of doing it is developed.
Then, of course, there is also the matter of losing funding for several free websites. Not many people know that a lot of the free websites that offer information on various topics are being funded by private companies and advertisers. If these companies will lose profit because of the new restrictions on web browsers, then there is also a big chance that free websites will gradually cease to exist.
Source: Washington Post