Google Allows 'Do-Not-Track' Browser Button

Option will let users restrict the amount of information that can be collected about them.

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Google Inc. will allow a "do-not- track" button to be embedded in its Web browser, letting users restrict the amount of data that can be collected about them.

The world's most popular search engine is joining other Web companies to support the anti-tracking initiative, which prevents an individual's browsing history from being used to tailor ads, according to an e-mailed statement today.

"We're pleased to join a broad industry agreement to respect the 'do-not-track' header in a consistent and meaningful way," Susan Wojcicki, Google's senior VP-advertising, said in the statement.

Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., is getting into the initiative as the Obama administration unveiled plans to provide consumers more control over their personal information online. Congress should enact a privacy bill of rights for Web users, the administration said in a report released today.

Revelations about potential privacy vulnerabilities during the past year have spurred calls from regulators and lawmakers for better protections for data online and on internet-connected mobile devices.

Last month, Google announced plans to unify privacy policies for products, including YouTube videos and Android software for smartphones, saying that it would simplify conditions that users agree to.

Google and Facebook, the world's largest social network, are among the companies facing scrutiny over their handling of consumer data used to power the online-ad market, which is projected to reach $39.5 billion in the U.S. this year, according to eMarketer Inc.

The White House report sets broad principles for personal data, including giving consumers control over what data are collected and how they are used, providing understandable privacy policies, and handling information in a secure manner. The Commerce Department will meet with companies and privacy advocates to develop voluntary standards for businesses based on the principles.

Bloomberg News

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