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Originally published February 23, 2012 at 7:19 PM | Page modified February 23, 2012 at 9:56 PM

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Google agrees to provide 'do not track' button on Web browsers

Google will join with other Web companies to support a mobile anti-tracking initiative, which prevents an individual's phone-browsing history from being used to tailor ads.

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Google agreed to 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 will join with 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 emailed statement Thursday.

"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 the statement.

Google joined the initiative as the Obama administration unveiled plans to give 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 Thursday.

Revelations about potential privacy vulnerabilities during the past year have spurred calls from regulators and lawmakers in Washington for stronger protections of personal data online and on Internet-connected mobile devices.

Google announced plans on Jan. 24 to unify privacy policies for products including YouTube videos and Android software for mobile phones, saying it will simplify conditions that users agree to.

Google and Facebook are among Web companies facing scrutiny over their handling of consumer data used to power an online ad market projected to reach $39.5 billion in the U.S. this year, according to eMarketer, a New York-based research firm.

The White House report sets broad principles for the use of personal information that include giving consumers control over what data is collected on them and how it is used; providing understandable privacy policies; and handling consumer data securely.

The Commerce Department will meet with companies and privacy advocates to develop voluntary standards for businesses based on the principles.

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