Search-engine superpower Google on Thursday announced they will feature a "do not track" button in their Web browser, hours after the Obama administration asked for stronger consumer privacy protections.
"We're pleased to join a broad industry agreement to respect the 'do-not-track' header in a consistent and meaningful way that offers users choice and clearly explained browser controls," Google Senior Vice President of Advertising Susan Wojcicki said in a statement.
Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL are expected to fall in line, under pressure to restrict the amount of information that can be collected from unsuspecting consumers.
A Wall Street Journal poll shows a vast majority of search-engine users will hit the "do not track" button, much to the dismay of some advertisers that track online habits.
However, the Federal Trade Commission recently warned that harsher anti-tracking legislation would be passed by Congress if the industry cannot reach a voluntary solution.
The Digital Advertising Alliance, which includes Google and Yahoo, acknowledges that self-regulation will have a positive impact on Internet commerce.
"Consumers must trust that their personal data will be kept private and secure, as they surf the Web aboard myriad devices seeking news, services, and entertainment tailored to their very personal interests," a statement from the group read.
More than 92 percent of respondents told the Wall Street Journal they would use an Internet "do-not-track" tool if embedded in their Web browser.
5 percent say they will use the feature if embedded as a default setting, while less than 3 percent say they would not hit the button.
The White House on Thursday unveiled a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights as part of a comprehensive blueprint to improve consumers' privacy protections.
"American consumers can't wait any longer for clear rules of the road that ensure their personal information is safe online," President Barak Obama said.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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