Browser plugin blocks ad-tracking cookiesMarch 17, 2009 – 12:36 PM
A researcher has developed a browser extension that stops advertising networks from tracking a person’s surfing habits, such as search queries and content they view on the web.
The extension, called Targeted Advertising Cookie Opt-Out (TACO), enables its users to opt out of 27 advertising networks that are employing behavioural advertising systems, wrote Christopher Soghoian, who developed it, on his website.
Soghoian, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard and a doctoral candidate at Indiana University, modified a browser extension Google released under an Apache 2 open-source license.
Google’s opt-out plugin for Internet Explorer and Firefox blocks cookies delivered by its Doubleclick advertising network. A cookie is a small data file stored in a browser that can track a variety of information, such as websites visited and search queries, and transmit that information back to the entity that placed the cookie in the browser.
Google’s opt-out plugin comes as the company announced plans last week to target advertisements based on the sites people visit. Targetted advertising is seen as a way for advertisers to more precisely find potential customers as well as for website publishers to charge higher advertising rates.