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

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 Sunnyvale, Calif., 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 last year or so as privacy advocates and Washington policymakers have pushed the industry 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.

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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.

Although 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 that would require online companies to provide a “do not track” option.

jim.puzzanghera@latimes.com

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