Apple adds 'do not track' feature to Safari Web browser

Apple Inc. has included a "do not track" feature to its Safari Web browser that prevents advertisers and other websites from tracking a user's surfing habits.

The feature hasn't been rolled out to the public yet, but it has been added to Safari in the latest release of Apple's in-development operating system, Mac OS X Lion, which is currently available only to Apple-certified programmers, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Mac OS X Lion, and an updated version of Safari, are set to be released this summer. Apple has said Lion will include many new features that will bring its user experience a bit closer to that of its iOS operating system, which runs on the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.

Mozilla Corp.'s Firefox 4 and Microsoft's Corp.'s Internet Explorer 9, two other popular Web browsers, already have similar "do not track" features.

Google Inc.'s Chrome browser does not have such a consumer tool, but third-party plug-ins have been created and can be downloaded free. Google has promised to roll out such a feature soon.

In February, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough) introduced a bill into Congress that would allow the Federal Trade Commission to force online advertisers to respect the wishes of users who do not want to be tracked for marketing purposes.

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