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Yahoo sites to offer ‘do not track’ feature by early summer

By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times –

WASHINGTON — Yahoo Inc. will offer a “do not track” feature on all its websites by early summer that will allow consumers to opt out of targeted advertisements based on data collected about their online movements, the company said Thursday.

The new feature has been in development since last year and will “provide a simple step for consumers to express their ad-targeting preferences to Yahoo,” the company said.

Most major Web browsers, including Mozilla’s Firefox, Microsoft Corp.’s Internet Explorer and Apple Inc.’s Safari have added a “do not track” button in the past year or so as privacy advocates and Washington policymakers have pushed to give consumers more power over their online data.

Google Inc. said in February that it would add the feature to its Chrome browser by the end of the year.

Yahoo, Google and other major online advertising companies have been working to provide a standardized Do Not Track feature for consumers.

Yahoo’s announcement comes after the Federal Trade Commission on Monday reiterated its call for online advertisers and Web browsers to put an “easy-to-use, persistent and effective” “do not track” feature in place.

While the industry has made progress since the FTC first called for such a feature in late 2010, the agency said there is more work to be done. Legislation has been introduced in Washington and California requiring online companies provide a “do not track” option.

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