Apple has joined the makers of other major browsers, with the exception of Google, in supporting a do-not-track feature, The Wall Street Journal reports. Developers have discovered the tool in the latest build of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, Developer Preview 2, which was issued two weeks ago.
According to the report, the do-not-track feature, which sends messages to websites and advertising networks requesting that the user not be tracked, requires cooperation from marketers and website owners to function properly. Major online-advertising networks have yet to agree on how to handle the system.
The Mozilla-backed do-not-track standard has reportedly not yet been included as a preference option in the Mac OS X Lion prerelease version of Safari, though it can be activated from the Develop contextual menu.
Online privacy has been a hot topic as of late, as politicians, security researchers and lawyers have pressed Apple and its partners for information on how both Mac OS X and iOS handle user data.
Last week, a federal grand jury served subpoenas to several prominent mobile developers for Apple's iOS and Google's Android as part of an investigation into the sharing of user data with ad networks.
In February, security experts revealed that Apple had invited them to examine a prerelease version of Mac OS X Lion as part of a renewed commitment to security.
Researchers disclosed last month a vulnerability in Safari after security analyst Charlie Miller demonstrated a hack at the "Pwn2Own" hacking contest. At the competition, analysts also succeeded in hacking the iPhone, Internet Explorer and Firefox.
For more information on upcoming features in Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, see AppleInsider's extensive coverage: Inside Mac OS X Lion.